GRAPHIC: Family fights off shark after 16-year-old bitten in NC

CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. (WGHP/CNN) - A 16-year-old boy is recovering after he received 19 stitches following a shark attack while swimming with family along the North Carolina coast.

Nick Arthur, 16, suffered close to 40 bite wounds on his body after a 5-foot-long shark attacked him about 25 feet offshore at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. (Source: Arthur Family/WGHP/CNN)

Nick Arthur, 16, suffered close to 40 bite wounds on his body Thursday after a shark attacked him while he, his sister and his father were swimming about 25 feet offshore at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

What started as a normal day at the beach changed in a matter of seconds when the 16-year-old felt something clamp its jaws on his thigh.

“The pressure was so intense, and I was like… ‘This is an animal of some sort.’ I didn’t know what it was, so I tried lifting my leg up out of the water and I saw – oh, my God – it’s a 5-foot-long shark attached to my leg,” Nick Arthur said.

The teenager began screaming, and while his sister swam for help as fast as she could, his father, Tim Arthur, started throwing punches and kicking.

"My hands were bleeding. There was just lots of blood and sand, all mixed together. I couldn't really see what was going on," Nick Arthur said. "My fingers were all scratched up because I was trying to pry its mouth open."

It wasn’t until Tim Arthur pounded the shark’s nose that it let go.

"I don't think we did anything special, but it was enough to make him maybe realize there was easier prey out there," Tim Arthur said.

Nick Arthur suffered non-life-threatening injuries that required 19 stitches. He is now using crutches to get around. Still, he knows there are worse endings, and he’s warning others not to let their guard down in the water.

“Even though it’s a small possibility, it’s still a possibility. I mean, I thought that there is no way that’s going to happen. No one thinks it’s going to happen to them until it happens to them,” the teenager said.

Copyright 2020 WGHP, Arthur Family via CNN. All rights reserved.