Shark attacks surfer in Monterey Bay

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Posted by msblucow on August 28, 2007 at 18:40:54:

From the Associated Press
2:17 PM PDT, August 28, 2007
A surfer was attacked by a shark in Monterey Bay early today and airlifted to a hospital with bite wounds to his torso and thigh, according to hospital and state park officials.

The 24-year-old victim, whose name was not released, was surfing with a half dozen other people at Marina State Beach when the shark attacked him from behind around 11 a.m., according to Loren Rex, a California State Parks spokesman.

The victim screamed and started punching the shark while trying to flee, Rex said.

"Then the shark took him down under the water," he said. "Witnesses saw a lot of thrashing and some blood coming up. Other witnesses saw the shark let him up before biting him one more time."

One witness said the shark was a great white shark measuring at least 20 feet long, which rescuers weren't able to immediately confirm, Rex said.

Surfers pulled the victim to shore and administered first aid, using a surf leash and a blanket as tourniquets to stop the bleeding until rescuers could arrive, Rex said.

The victim was conscious and breathing when he was taken away by ambulance. He was then airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where he was in fair and stable condition Tuesday afternoon with lacerations to his torso and thigh, according to hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou.

The victim was going into surgery and was expected to survive, Alexiou said.

The Monterey County beach, located about 35 miles south of Santa Cruz, is well known for its sand dunes, hang gliding and rugged surf with very strong rip currents. The area where the surfer was attacked is considered an advanced surfing spot suitable only for skilled surfers.

Because of the attack, state officials closed all the beaches from Monterey State Beach to Moss Landing, a 15-mile stretch where people were forbidden from entering the water Tuesday.

Rex said this was the first recorded shark attack at Marina State Beach, but added that some divers have been attacked in Monterey Bay.

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