He is either the luckiest or unluckiest man in the world.
Dylan McWilliams, a 20-year-old from Colorado, is the luckiest unlucky man in the world after surviving a bear attack, a bite from a rattlesnake and then having escaped the jaws of a tiger shark all while backpacking across the United States and Canada for the past few years.
“It's kind of crazy," Dylan told the BBC. "I don't seem to have a lot of luck but it's kind of lucky in unlucky situations."
McWilliams’s latest brush with death came while he was enjoying the waves Thursday morning in Kauai and felt something brush his leg.
“I saw the shark underneath me. I started kicking at it - I know I hit it at least once - and swam to shore as quickly as I could," he recalled.
He managed to make it to shore before the blood could attract anymore sharp-toothed predators in the water. The shark, believed to have been a tiger shark between six and eight feet, left bite marks on McWilliams’s leg, which required seven stitches.
But the shark attack was only one of McWilliams’s run-ins with death.
Last July, while on a camping trip in Colorado, the 20-year-old woke at 4 a.m. to his head clamped in the jaws of a black bear. He began fighting back against the bear, the commotion eventually waking his friends, causing the bear to release him and walk away. His injuries required nine staples to the back of the head, leaving scars and pain when he touches them.
The bear responsible for the attack was captured the following morning by park authorities. After tests confirmed that McWilliams’s blood was under its claws, the bear was put down.
His first run-in with death, however, came three years ago, when a rattlesnake bit him while he was hiking in Utah at the age of 17.
“I was walking down a trail and I thought I kicked a cactus but couldn't see one, and then saw a rattlesnake all coiled up,” McWilliams said.
The then 17-year-old opted not to get to the emergency room because he had only suffered a dry bite.
“There was a little venom so I did get a bit sick for a couple of days.”1comments
Despite his run of bad luck with wildlife, McWilliams, whose grandfather taught him survival techniques while he was young, is itching to get back to the adventures, saying that he holds no hard feelings over the attacks.
“I've always loved animals and spent as much time with them as I could,” he said. “I don't blame the shark, I don't blame the bear, and I don't blame the rattlesnake."