German pensioner Hans-Peter Malten was swimming off Nang Thong Beach in the Phang Nga province when the attack took place. Major Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police said: “Mr Malten said that he and his wife went for a morning walk along the beach on Sunday morning.”

He continued: “At about 7.15am Mr Malten went for a swim while his wife stayed on the beach.

“While he was swimming six or seven metres from the beach, he felt that there was a big fish swimming nearby and then he was bitten on his right leg.”

Mr Malten was taken to the Andaman Hub Medical Centre in Khao Lak before he was transported to Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

The bite left the 75-year-old with a severed tendon and a gaping 8-inch semicircular gash on his leg.

Mr Malten has now been discharged from the hospital where doctors treated his wounds.

Police have not officially declared the incident a shark attack.

But one expert said it was “almost certainly” from a shark.

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Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research Gavin Naylor told Newsweek: “The semicircular bite mark on the victim’s leg is almost certainly from a shark.

“Identifying the species responsible is not easy without more information.

“If the beach where the event occurred is near a source of freshwater and the water was turbid, then it could well have been a bull shark.

“A blacktip reef shark is also a possibility. Both species occur in the area and frequent fairly shallow water.”

But there have been a handful of suspected attacks in recent years.

The most recent reported attacks happened off the coast of Koh Tao in Surat Thani in 2018 and another in Phuket in 2017 but both victims only suffered from minor injuries.

In 2015 Australian tourist Jane Neame, 37, was bitten on the foot while swimming at Karon Beach near Phuket early one morning.

She was treated at Bangkok Hospital Phuket but local authorities never managed to identify what could have caused the bite injuries.



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