Russia raises money for shark victim's new limbs

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A 25-year-old Russian man who lost both hands in a shark attack while defending his wife in the Sea of Japan, said Friday he felt fine as a host of well-wishers raised money for prosthetic limbs.

Last month, a shark tore off Denis Udovenko's hands as he and his wife Polina swam in the Sea of Japan -- the first such attack in the Russian Pacific region.

Sharks attacked two more people shortly afterwards, but computer programmer Udovenko suffered the most severe injuries that also included torn leg muscles.

Speaking from a hospital in Seoul where he recently had surgery on his leg, Udovenko said he felt fine and added his doctors were surpised he could walk.

"In their opinion, a man cannot walk (with such injuries) because he would experience huge pain. I only felt tired," Udovenko said in an interview broadcast on Russian television. "You could say I am feeling great."

The young man's survival story tugged at heartstrings across Russia where a drive is underway to raise money to help the programmer and amateur guitar player buy a pair of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's influential deputy Igor Shuvalov earlier visited Udovenko in a Russian hospital while a political party led by billionaire politician Mikhail Prokhorov also pledged to help.

Scientists have said an apparent increase in shark attacks worldwide may well be blamed on humans, with over-fishing and possibly global warming among the possible culprits.

© 2011 AFP

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