LOS OSOS, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — A surfer on the Central California coast was dragged under water by a great white shark and bitten in the hip Sunday.
Andrew Walsh told the San Luis Obispo Tribune he was surfing about 10 feet from the victim when the attack occurred; he estimated the shark — a "juvenile," he said — was 9 or 10 feet long.
"There was no warning at all," Walsh told the paper. "It was absolutely quiet. ... (The shark) came straight up out of the depths and got him and took him under the water."
The victim was below the water for several seconds before he surfaced on his damaged board, Walsh said. He then paddled to shore where he received help from two doctors who happened to be on the beach, a witness said Sunday.
The man in his 50s used the leash cord from his surfboard to make a tourniquet for his leg before he got out of the water, Walsh told the Tribune.
"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 where there, helping out and calling 911."
The man, who lives in the San Luis Obispo area, sustained cuts to his right hip area and was flown to a local hospital for treatment, Supervising State Park Ranger Robert Colligan said. The 11:30 a.m. attack happened at the Sand Spit Beach in Montana De Oro State Park just west of San Luis Obispo.
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.