Harvey Miller was in Hawaii with his wife, Lisa, last week and while he snorkeled, looking for turtles, his relaxation turned to terror.
"I was about 150 yards off shore," he said on "Good Morning America" today. "I was watching some fish and they scattered."
Miller, a 36-year-old from Toledo, Ohio, was about to encounter an 8-foot-long tiger shark.
"I looked up and saw the snout of the shark," he said. "It bit me and spun me around."
Harvey said he punched the shark twice in the body just below the dorsal fin.
He was hurt and bleeding badly and unable to swim away. He yelled four or five times for help.
On shore Ray Howell was playing cards with a family, when he heard Miller's cry for help. Howell said he ditched his glasses, pulled off his shirt and jumped into the water as his family called for help.
"I was coming up at an angle and he couldn't see me," Howell said. "He didn't see me until I was there."
Howell said Miller's first words were, "It broke my leg."
"He was talking the whole way in and was very responsive," Howell said. When the men arrived close to shore, another man assisted Howell in bringing Harvey to the shore line.
Meanwhile on another section of the beach, Miller's wife, Lisa, heard a call from the military police telling people to get out of the water because there had been a shark sighting.
Unaware her husband was injured, Lisa said she began to worry when she saw an ambulance pass because she knew Miller was alone. Lisa and her father drove down the beach and approached an officer to let him know her husband had been snorkeling.
When she told the officer her husband's name, he told her that her husband had been injured.
The shark took muscle, tissue and nerve from Miller's left knee and calf, but the bite missed his femoral artery, which could have made the attack fatal.
In addition to attacking Miller, officials believe the shark also bit and killed two turtles, which later washed up on the Lanikai and Bellows shores.
Doctors said Miller would be unable to walk for two or three months and might need a nerve graft to restore muscle function to his left foot.
But even with his terrifying experience, Miller said he did not blame the shark for the attack.
"I was out there looking at the fish and that's their world and unfortunately that's part of their world," he said. He joked people should just do their best to try not to look like food to the shark.
Today he said he feels good and is experiencing minimal pain.
The father of four said he especially was grateful for Howell's help.
"He's my hero. I would not have made it out of the water without his assistance," Miller said. "I owe my life to that man."