The 10-year-old boy who was bitten by a shark on Hilton Head Island last weekend is out of the hospital and was featured in a segment on Thursday's "Today" show.
Jei Turrell was splashing in waist-deep water with his older brother Sunday when his right forearm was bitten by what experts believe was a blacktip or spinner shark in front of the Disney Beach House.
"The chances of you getting bit by a shark are like 3 million to one. So I guess I'm that one," he said on "Today."
He's right. The odds of person getting a shark bite are about 1 in 3.7 million, the National Aquarium in Baltimore said in a study. Beachgoers are far more likely to die of the flu than to be killed by a shark, according to the study.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
After being airlifted to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Jei underwent a two-hour-long surgery. While there, his ordeal and recovery caught the attention of news organizations.
Jei's mother, Tonya Turrell, posted on Facebook that her son told her he was tired of talking to reporters and wanted "to get back to normal life ... unless Today Show or Ellen DeGeneres calls."
Her post read: "We were sitting in the waiting room for his first follow up visit with the surgeon this morning when my phone rang for the twentieth time with an unknown number. I was turning my ringer off and was going to decline the call, when Jei saw a New York number and told me to answer it. 'It might be the Today Show!"
It was, indeed, the "Today'" show.
On the broadcast, Tonya told NBC reporter Kerry Sanders that she thought her son was joking when he came out of the water yelling, "Shark!"
Then, she said, she saw the blood.
"I don't think I've ever experienced anything as frightening," she told NBC. "Your thoughts get away from you, and I felt like I was going crazy."
While Jei was in the hospital, he thanked everyone, Sanders told viewers.
"Even when you're bit by a shark, you still gotta be polite," Jei explained.
In a lengthy post on Facebook Thursday morning, Tonya shared details of Jei's recovery so far. She thanked those who have prayed and offered gratitude for his surgeon who repaired his arm.
She said it's too early for doctors to know how much mobility Jei has lost in his arm.
"People keep asking how many stitches Jei has. We don't know. The doctor doesn't even know. Too many to count. ... There are a lot of stitches on the outside and even more on the inside," Tonya posted.
She also has posted about the immense pain her son is enduring from the injury, the trauma of remembering the attack and his disappointment that his fishing trip was curtailed. She also advised parents to avoid bright swimwear that may attract sharks' attention.
After the "Today" segment aired, co-host Craig Melvin remarked on Jei's positive attitude and offered a shout-out to Hilton Head.
"Hilton Head, by the way, it's a great beach," said Melvin, who grew up in Columbia. "We go down there every year. It's where we vacation."