This young man is either the luckiest or unluckiest person alive.
Dylan McWilliams has an incredible track record of unfortunate encounters with wildlife, as three separate animals have now attacked him. However, he's survived them all, so perhaps luck is actually on his side.
Last summer, a black bear attacked Dylan while he slept. We reported that the then-19-year-old awoke to the sound of something crunching. He quickly realized that the sound came from the teeth of a large bear clamping down on his skull.
The bear dragged McWilliams from his sleeping bag and across the ground for 10-12 feet before Dylan's screaming and gouging at the bear allowed him to break free. Other campers heard Dylan's screams and rushed to his defense as well, striking the bear and forcing it to run away.
That was as brutal of an experience as anyone could live through. But recently, now-20-year-old Dylan suffered another attack by a wild critter. This time it was a shark.
First a bear, then a shark
He was swimming off the shore of Kauai island in Hawaii last week when he felt a searing pain in his leg. "I felt something hit my leg, and looked down and there was blood all around me in the water," McWilliams said. "Then I saw a shark underneath me and I started kicking at it."
The creature that bit McWilliams was a tiger shark somewhere between 6 and 8 feet long.
Still 50 yards from shore, Dylan swam as fast as he could.
"The scary part was swimming back," he said. "I don't know where the shark is, I'm a ways from shore, so I just was swimming for my life. I didn't know where the shark was, and I didn't know if he would come after me again."
He made it to shore and was taken to a hospital, where he received seven stitches to close the wound.
McWilliams seemed to take the encounter in stride and with a very positive attitude.
"I'm just mad that I can't get back in the water for a couple days," he said.
He initially thought that he'd bumped into a cactus, but then he saw the snake coiled and acting defensively. Apparently, he only suffered from a "dry bite," which means not much venom was released. McWilliams only became ill for a few days before recovering. He didn't even go to the hospital.
Beating the odds...or not
National Geographic estimated that the numerical odds of Dylan's three encounters in three years are around 893.35 quadrillion to one.
"He's one of the unluckiest guys on the planet," said George Burgess of the Florida Program for Shark Research.
The odds of getting attacked by a bear are around 2.1 million to one. (What kind of odds does that make Todd Orr's experience of being attacked by the same grizzly twice in one day?) The odds of being attacked by a shark? Around 11.5 million to one. Being bitten by a venomous snake: 37,500 to one. Each of those statistics is multiplied together to come up with the grand total of 893.35 quadrillion to one.
"It's kind of crazy," McWilliams said. "I don't seem to have a lot of luck, but it's kind of lucky in unlucky situations. I still go hiking, I still catch rattlesnakes, and I will still swim in the ocean."
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