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College student records encounter with shark so he could tell loved ones goodbye in case he died

Matteo Mariotti, 20, said he was attacked seconds after he stepped into the water and started snorkeling in Queensland, Australia.
/ Source: TODAY

An Italian college student was bitten by a shark in Australia last week in a shocking incident captured on camera — caught only because the 20-year-old wanted to be able to say goodbye to his loved ones in case he was attacked again.

Matteo Mariotti said he began filming after he felt a "terrible pain" in his foot, just seconds after he said he stepped into the water and started snorkeling in Queensland, Australia, he told Italian newspaper Gazetta di Parma.

"I tried to widen that big mouth and with difficulty I freed my leg, even though from the knee down I could tell there was nothing left," Mariotti said, according to a NBC News translation.

The incident occurred at 1770 Beach on Dec. 8, according to the Queensland Ambulance Service. Mariotti, a marine biology major studying abroad in Australia, was taken to Bundaberg Hospital in Queensland before he was transferred to Metro North Hospital in Brisbane, where he was listed in stable condition as of Dec. 13.

According to the video recording of the attack, Mariotti called for his friend by the shore, Tomasso, who jumped in to help and applied a tourniquet.

"In the first seconds, it was really panic for me," Tomasso said on TODAY. "After that, I try to think of what I have to do. And I tried my best to save him."

Paramedics arrived within minutes, according to Martin Kelly, senior operations supervisor of the Queensland Ambulance Service.

"It’s quite serious, quite daunting to look at," Kelly said. "He had a bite on his ankle and a bite, you know, Midway below his knee. So he had two really major injuries."

Mariotti's leg was severed at the knee due to the attack, and he said he started recording after he was bitten so he could say his final words to his loved ones if the shark bit him again.

"I never thought I’d survive that monster... You are my heroes, you give me strength to carry on with my texts and calls," he wrote on Instagram.

A GoFundMe has raised nearly $100,000 on behalf of Mariotti.

Shark attacks are rare — there were 57 unprovoked shark attacks last year, five of which were fatal, according to International Shark Attack File. Australia was second to the U.S. in number — 41 in the U.S. and nine in Australia.