A diver has told of his horror ordeal after a two metre Conger Eel took a chunk out of his face. Jimmy Griffin, 48, was scuba diving off the coast of Connemara, Co Galway, last week when the creature attacked him 25 metres under water.
He explained how the conger eel emerged from the depths and tried to drag him down to the ocean bed. Baker Jimmy said it felt like a punch to his face as the eel pounced, knocking his breath regulator from his mouth. He explained: “I’ve been diving for 20 years. I hadn’t been in the water for two years and popped in to say hi to my buddies. “So I went down and had a great time. It was coming close to the end and we were turning round to go surface. We were looking at large lobsters and I was floating in the water. Suddenly I got hit and it was to the face. “But what made it different was because it gripped onto my face and started biting, pulling and twisting.”
The experienced diver was then caught in a wrestle with the beast as he desperately tried to break free. He told Today with Pat Kenny on Radio One: “I try to be calm all the time, it’s fight or flight, your reaction is trying to get rid of the thing so I put my hands up to wrestle this thing and my mouthpiece came out. “I felt this sharp horrible pain and saw this eel swim off. I knew I had been bitten but didn’t know how badly, it was very numb.”
At that depth Jimmy was also at risk of being overcome by decompression illness, known as the bends, if he emerged too quickly from the water. The father of one praised his diving buddies, adding: “I owe my life to a lot of people, the skipper of the boat and the lads in Scuba Dive West, they watched over me until the ambulance came.” His wound required 20 stitches that will require painful plastic surgery over the coming months. Jimmy added: “The plastic surgeons are confident they’ll be able to fix the injury without much hassle.”