Surfer fights off shark, escapes with bitten leg

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Posted by on October 19, 2005 at 20:41:59:

In Reply to: Salmon Creek Surfer Survives Shark Attack posted by on October 19, 2005 at 16:13:24:

(10-19) 14:29 PDT BODEGA BAY -- A 20-year-old woman surfing at Salmon Creek Beach near Bodega Bay fought off an attacking shark this morning but was bitten in the right leg and taken by helicopter to a Santa Rosa hospital.

Brit Horn, a lifeguard at Sonoma Coast State Beach, which includes Salmon Creek, witnessed the attack while off duty and surfing at about 10:30 a.m. with about six or seven others in an area known as the Boardwalk near the south end of the beach.

"I heard her scream, looked over and saw a very large fin, and saw her go under water,'' Horn said. "Then the fin disappeared and she popped up along with her board.''

The woman told doctors at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital that she was lying on her surfboard when what she believes was a great white shark hit her. She fought it off, at one point while on its back, hospital spokeswoman Mary Brighton Borrelli said.

Horn and three other surfers rushed to help the woman, whom Horn knows only as "Megan." She was screaming, he said, and there was blood in the water but not very much. She did not appear to have any life-threatening wounds, he said.

Megan paddled back to shore, accompanied by the other surfers, who helped her to the beach and applied towels to dress the two wounds on her right leg, both of which were bleeding lightly.

Another surfer ran a half mile to the nearest road and drove to a phone to call 911. Bodega Bay paramedics arrived soon after, followed closely by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department helicopter. Horn said the injured surfer never lost consciousness.

"She did very, very well at keeping her cool,'' he said.

The surfer remained in stable condition at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with five serious lacerations to the leg, and was undergoing tests, Brighton Borrelli said.

The incident took place in an area where previous shark attacks have occurred, Rude said. A shark attacked a Santa Rosa man in the same area about three years ago, Horn said. He said great white sharks are suspected in all of the attacks.

"It's unusual, but not unexpected,'' Rude said of the attack.

As a precaution, rangers, lifeguards and sheriff's deputies advised people to leave the beaches between Jenner and Bodega Bay, Rude said. The beach closures, which are standard after a shark attack, will last for five days, Horn said.

Neither law enforcement nor hospital officials would identify the victim, and she and her mother were declining to speak to the media.

But Horn described the woman as "one of the local female surfers. She's been surfing out here for a couple of years at least. I've seen her here surfing in the past, and expect to see her here in the future.''

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