A South African priest shot who himself through his head with his own speargun while spearfishing off the KwaZulu-Natal coast Friday has miraculously survived the accident and is recovering, reports said.
Rev. Connie Hallowell’s harrowing experience was captured in graphic photographs published in local and international news reports. Bleeding heavily from his head, Hallowell appeared surrounded by beachgoers as he sat on a beach with the spear still piercing through his face.
The 48-year-old told the Times of London he had been about 65 feet offshore of the coastal town of Scottsburgh when he set the speargun down on the seabed and it accidentally fired. He said the 6.5-foot-long spear penetrated his face below his right eye and out through his left ear.
WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS
Hallowell managed to drag himself onto the shore where beachgoers and lifeguards rushed to stabilize him, the paper reported. He was then airlifted to a hospital to undergo surgery.
“It’s amazing that I am here at all,” he told the paper.
Despite the spear plunging so close to his eye sockets, Hallowell kept his vision in both eyes, the South Coast Herald reported.
Sitting up in his hospital bed for a brief interview with the Herald, Hallowell described his survival as “miraculous” and thanked people for their kind words and prayers.
"I'm doing very, very well,” he said. “I'm good, I'm recovering, looking forward to seeing you guys soon."