Ali Mohammad Al Beloushi with Dr Hossam Mousa at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City hospital. Image Credit: Shaikh Khalifa Medical City

Abu Dhabi: The Emirati fisherman mauled by a shark earlier this month has so far undergone two surgeries to repair wounds on his right leg, his doctor has said.

Ali Mohammad Al Beloushi, 41, who was attacked by the shark while on a fishing trip in the waters off Khor Fakkan, is now receiving further treatment and therapy at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, a public hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Hossam Mousa, consultant and head of plastic surgery and rehabilitation at the hospital, said Al Beloushi will begin physiotherapy within a month, and should be able to resume normal activities within three months.

As reported by Gulf News, Al Beloushi, a fisherman with 16 years of experience, was on a fishing trip with a friend, Omar, in the morning of Friday, May 12, when he was attacked.

Dr Moussa said that the biggest risk in the case of such attacks is that of excessive bleeding resulting from injured blood vessels.

“In this case, Al Beloushi was fortunate because he did not suffer such injuries, and the bleeding was moderate. So a simple blood transfusion was enough,” the doctor said.

Al Beloushi had sustained a wound measuring 10 centimetres by 20 centimetres from the attack. There was also severe laceration of the surrounding skin, as well as a damaged tendon and muscles in the front of the leg.

“We disinfected and washed the wound, then removed the dead tissue and repaired the tendon and muscle. We then put him on antibiotics to allow the wound to heal, and dressed his wounds every two days. Because of the loss of more than 20 centimetres of skin, the patient needed a second operation a week later in order to close the wound completely,” Dr Moussa said.

The repair was complicated because Al Beloushi had exposed tendons that had to be covered with muscle and skin.

He will soon begin physiotherapy and the doctor said he should be able to resume a normal life in about three months.

The fisherman also recounted the day he was bitten by the massive shark.

“The weather was beautiful and there was an abundant catch, so we left for fishing at 7am with plans to return early for Friday prayers,” Al Beloushi said. They were in the Zubara area off Khor Fakkan.

Al Beloushi had made just made a free dive to explore the potential catch. It was 8.44am, and he was at the surface of the water about three metres from the boat when he felt his right leg bitten by a powerful set of jaws.

“I initially felt a tug on my right diving fin and thought Omar had dived in and was messing with me. But when I looked at the boat, I could see him sitting there, and another strange object moving around in the waters. And when I turned around, I found myself face-to-face with the shark,” he recounted.

The shark ripped away Al Beloushi’s fins and bit his leg, but the fisherman hit the shark with a sea gun. Simultaneously, Omar began firing at the shark and managed to shoot him twice.

After hauling his friend on board, Omar contacted Al Beloushi’s brother, who works with the Civil Defence. The fisherman was rushed to hospital, and Omar returned to the water with another friend to hunt for the shark, which had fled after being shot.

“It took two hours for them to find the shark, but it was dead by then,” Al Beloushi said.

The fish was two metres long and weighed a whopping 250 kilograms.