Surfer who punched shark helps save another surfer from drowning

  • Mick Fanning in July.

    Mick Fanning in July.  (Dean Lewins/AAP Image via AP)

  • Evan Geiselman in April.

    Evan Geiselman in April.  (Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register via AP)

The surfer who punched a shark on television in July found himself in the middle of another scare Sunday, racing to save a fellow surfer who nearly drowned.

Evan Geiselman, 22, was found unconsciousness in the waters off Hawaii's Ehukai Beach. Australian pro surfer Mick Fanning and South African two-time world bodyboarding champion Andre Botha were among the rescuers who pulled Geiselman to safety, Fox Sports reports. Officials there called it an "amazing" rescue.

"His face was a dark blue, almost purple. He was foaming at the mouth. His eyes were rolled back and his body was completely limp," Botha said. "The first thing that went through my mind at that point was that he was dead."

Botha attempted to resuscitate Geiselman while trying to swim to shore against the waves. Safety officials estimate that the pair had traveled about 300 yards before other surfers and lifeguards reached them.

"All the oncoming waves crashing on him, he was able to just hold on to that surfer's body and help until we got there and got to him. It was amazing," said Capt. Vitor Marcal of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division. Botha said that staying afloat while clinging to Geiselman took a "huge amount of energy."

"I don't think I've ever expended that amount of energy in that short amount of time ever," he said.

Geiselman, of Florida, eventually regained consciousness after he was brought to shore. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and was recovering Monday, Hawaii News Now reported.

Fanning famously said he punched a shark that had knocked him off his board during a televised competition in South Africa in July. He escaped unhurt.

Geiselman's brother, Eric, took to social media Monday to thank Fanning, Botha and other rescuers.

"Words can not describe how thankful I am for everyone coming together and acting so quickly," Eric Geiselman said in a post on Instagram that showed a picture of his brother flashing a shaka from his hospital bed. "We had guardian angels yesterday!"

Botha said that anyone would have done what he did if they were in his position.

"From my point of view, I was just the right person at the right place at the right time," he said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.