Cancun, Mexico shark attack: 10-year-old boy speaks out after being severely bitten on spring break

ByEriell Reshef, GMA
Thursday, March 30, 2023
10-year-old boy severely bitten by shark in Mexico
A 10-year-old boy suffered a serious shark bite while on spring break in Cancun, Mexico. Dillon Armijo didn't think he'd live.

CANCUN, Mexico -- A 10-year-old Colorado boy was severely bitten by a shark while on spring break in Cancun.

The boy and his mother are speaking out in his first interview since going home from the hospital, "Good Morning America" reported.

"I was very scared. I didn't think I'd live," Dillon Armijo said. "It just felt like a bump, like a really sharp bump."

On the last day of their family trip, Armijo and his older brother were playing in knee-deep water on the beach, when, out of nowhere, danger struck. The shark suddenly latched onto his leg.

"I heard him scream first," said Abby Armijo, his mother. "That moment is the most overwhelming thing I've ever experienced in my life."

His brother, a bystander and a nearby lifeguard jumped into action.

"My brother dragged me onto the sand, and then my mom and other people just ... put me on a chair and the tourniquet on my leg," Dillon said.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital.

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"It was terrifying. I didn't know how bad it was. There was more things that I didn't know then. And just, as a mom, I was helpless. And that's a horrible, horrible feeling," Abby said.

Four days later Dillon was airlifted to Colorado, undergoing three surgeries.

"We actually didn't fully understand the extent of his injuries until we were back in Colorado," his mother said.

"All of the tendons on both sides of the knee are gone. A lot of nerve damage, he's no longer able to lift his foot. So he'll have a drop foot, but he will be able to run and jump and play soccer like normal in time. So that's the best we can hope for," said Zach Armijo, Dillon's father.

The boy said he's really happy to know he'll be able to play again.

As millions travel to beach destinations for spring break, experts said it's important to stay vigilant in the water.

"If you're going to get in the water, you have to assume the risk. But I think people should take kind of comfort in knowing that a shark bite is extremely rare," Dr. Neil Hammerschlag said.

Dillon is now on the road to walking again.

"I think I will go back in the ocean again eventually," he said.

"He is brave and he's strong. And if he wants to go back in the ocean, then I think that's fantastic," Abby said.