Friend of surfer attacked by shark talks to ABC 6

Former Rhode Islander Colin Cook is in critical condition after a large shark latched onto his left leg in Hawaii severing it from the knee down.

The 25-year-old who grew up in Tiverton also injured his hands after punching that shark in his attempt to escape.

"He’s an over comer and he’s strong and he’s a fighter,,” said a friend and mentor of Cook’s Chuck Barend.

Barend owns a surf shop in Little Compton where Cook once worked.

"He’s full of passion for surfing and making surf boards and I know gods going to direct that passion whether it stays in that direction or it goes to something else. But, I know that he’s got a bright future. He’s still here with us, that’s what we are really happy about,” said Barend.

Cook moved to Hawaii a few years back to pursue his passion of building surf boards. We’re told the area where he was attacked is a place he often surfed.

"You just never think it’s going to happen to your friends and family,” said Barend.

But, when the unthinkable did happen, Barend says he’s thankful for those that jumped into help. Officials say a paddle boarder came to Cook’s rescue and a kayaker towed the two to shore. Once there, a group of good Samaritans jumped into action using a surfboard leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

(C) WLNE 2015