A surfer survived being attacked and dragged underwater by a juvenile great white shark off the central California coast Sunday.
California State Park Ranger Supervisor Robert Colligan said the attack by the 8-to-10 foot shark happened at around 11 a.m. local time at Montana de Oro State Park, approximately 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune, citing witnesses, identified the surfer as 50-year-old Kevin Swanson of Morro Bay, Calif. He was airlifted to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his right hip and thigh and a hospital spokesman said Swanson was in fair condition Sunday afternoon.
Andrew Walsh, who was surfing with Swanson, told the paper that the shark swam up from underneath Swanson’s board and grabbed him with no warning. Walsh added that Swanson surfaced after several seconds, yelled “shark attack!”, and began paddling to shore.
Before Swanson got out of the water, Walsh said, he fashioned a tourniquet from his surfboard’s leash cord. Two doctors who happened to be walking on the beach at the time examined him and determined that no arteries were hit.
“We’re really blessed that he was still able to get himself to shore,” Walsh said. “I was a few feet behind him, and we grabbed him and got him … up on the sand, and very quickly these doctors were there, helping out and calling 911.”
The beach remained open, but signs will be posted for three days warning the public of the attack, Colligan said. He noted that if there is another shark sighting, the signs will remain up for another three days.
Sharks are native to the area, and Colligan said that they are spotted several times a year. He added that attacks like this are rare.
A woman swimming with seals was killed by a shark in 2003 about 10 miles south of the most recent attack, Colligan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.