EXCLUSIVE: Crocodile attack survivor shares story for first time

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A man nearly killed in crocodile attack shares his story with ABC13 for the first time.

First to even be alive and then articulate his survivor's story is just the beginning of Jonathon Schoeneman's miracle.

"The alignment of the jaw is off a little bit and the pain from the nerves," said Schoeneman.

Surviving a September crocodile attack while spearfishing in mangroves of Cancun has made him a local legend.

Schoeneman said, "Everywhere I go people ask me, are you the guy who got bit by a crocodile?"

Yes, but the lifelong fisherman never expected to become the catch.

RELATED: Fisherman fights for life after crocodile attack

As Schoeneman swam back to the boat, a crocodile took him by the head.

"Around the corner my friend said 'hi' and I guess wasn't happy. Got me by the head, rolled me, tried to drown me," Schoeneman said. He was in the fight of his life and added, "I heard crunching, crunching, I don't know how I had the strength but I broke off a branch and started hitting him. I realized my jaw was hanging halfway down my chest."

Schoeneman's friend, Travis, helped get him back to the boat. Somehow, Schoneman stayed conscious to direct him out of there.


Schoeneman's brother, Justin, remembers the phone call here in Houston.

"I felt all this weight and collapsed, I couldn't believe it," said Justin.

Schoeneman's big brother has been an inspiration to him on his road to recovery.

"It's amazing, the will to survive and him realizing all the people who care about him made him fight for that too," said Justin.

Doctors have told Schoeneman it's a miracle he's alive, after severe trauma, losing seven pints of blood and then a serious staph infection.

"Life is short, it can be taken away like that," said Schoeneman.

Schoeneman is fishing again and has even been back to the scene of the attack.

Scars on his neck and head will forever be a part of his story, but for Schoeneman, the thought of never fishing again wouldn't be living.

"The only thing in life that pushes me is the ocean," said Schoeneman.

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