A Galway man says that he is “extremely lucky to be alive” after a freak incident where a giant conger eel bit away a huge chunk of his face.
Jimmy Griffin (48), who is an experienced deep sea diver for over 20 years, came into difficulties as he made his way back from an expedition in Killary Fjord, Connemara, Co Galway.
“Suddenly I got hit with what felt like a really strong punch in the face,” Mr Griffin told the Irish Independent. “I felt like a rag doll. It gripped onto my face and threw me about violently. It was biting, pulling and twisting on my face,” he said.
“I knew I had been attacked but at this stage I didn’t know what happened. I got this horrendous feeling of numbness in the left side of my face,” said Griffin.
“My regulator fell out and my vision became really cloudy because of the blood rising in the water in front of me. The blood looked like octopus ink, very dark,” he added
Mr Griffin attended the dive in Killary Fjord, which was part of a sports gear manufacturer’s promotion to test out new equipment. Despite his experience, it had been over two years since he was last deep sea diving.
“I am a very lucky man to be alive today. I owe my life to so many people who made sure I got to the hospital,” said Griffin.
“The plastic surgeons have done a fantastic job. I don’t even know how many stitches I have on both the inside and outside of mouth but they say the scar will eventually be unnoticeable,” he said.