Ellie Hayes, the mother of the 13-year-old boy who sustained serious upper body injuries after being attacked by a shark on Saturday, is thankful her son is alive.
During a press conference held at Rady Children’s Hospital Monday afternoon, Ellie revealed she was there at the time of her son Keane Webre-Hayes’ attack.
“I was on the cliff in the parking lot when I heard it,” Ellie told reporters.
Keane and a friend were diving for lobsters on the first day of the season just off the coast of Encinitas, a popular beach town in San Diego County. Ellie explained her son was “emphatic” about his excursion and even told her he was going to cook her a lobster dinner.
When reporters asked Ellie for further detail on the attack, she said “It’s Keane’s story” and wants to let him tell it how he wants to.
Proving just how fearless he is, Ellie later said Keane has plans to get back in the water after he makes a full recovery.
“I think Keane is a miracle,” Ellie said during Monday’s press conference. “I think he’s very, very, very strong and he’s a survivor now.”
While Keane — who has improved from critical condition to serious condition — is still piecing together the details surrounding the attack, he urged his mother to thank the people that helped saved him.
A nearby kayaker, Chad Hammel, was with friends when he heard the boy scream. “It’s probably like ten feet of blood behind him,” he told the CBS News. “And he’s in a panic.”
“We told him he’s going to be okay, he’s going to be alright,” Hammel told FOX 5 reported. “We got help. I yelled at everyone to get out of the water: ‘There’s a shark in the water!’”
He continued, “Once we threw him up on the kayak and started heading in, that’s when I looked back, and the shark was behind the kayak. He didn’t want to give up yet.”
Keane was then airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital and endured nine hours of treatment for his upper torso injuries before he was stabilized, according to the Associated Press.
Ellie also gave reporters an update on her son’s condition. “He’s talking. He’s alert— he had a donut and a cup of noodles,” Ellie explained before admitting she didn’t know how much longer Keane is expected to stay in the hospital.
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Dr. Tim Fairbanks, the physician who’s been treating Keane, also spoke about his road to recovery during the press conference. “He’s improving, but we still have care to do to get him out of the hospital.”
“While he’s doing well, we still have significant recovery,” Dr. Fairbanks added.
He is the first shark victim in the area in 30 years, according to CBS.
Keane’s family has created a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising funds to cover his medical bills. So far, they’ve raised $27,000.