Shark attacks surfer in Northern California
Man reported to have guts and meat hanging from four gashes
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 31 October, 2012 : - - A 25-year-old surfer was recovering Tuesday after he was apparently bitten by a shark off the coast of Eureka, the latest in a string of attacks between ocean lovers and sharks in California this year.
Other surfers attended to the seriously injured man and drove him from the beach to a highway where he was transferred to an ambulance, the Eureka Times-Standard reported. He underwent surgery and was listed in fair condition.
The Humboldt County sheriff's office said the man had a 14-inch bite wound and other injuries. He told a deputy he had been attacked by a shark. His name has not been released. The attack happened at a popular surfing spot called the North Jetty. Another surfer, David Hargrave, said he heard the bitten man call for help and saw him wade back to shore while bleeding heavily.
Jason Gabriel said he had just finished surfing himself when he saw several people helping the man out of the water. He had at least four gashes between his ribs and hips, Gabriel said. "It punctured all the way through. There were guts and meat hanging," he said, adding that the victim appeared to be in shock. "He was going, 'Oh my God, oh my God.'"
Leslie Broomall, a spokeswoman at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, said she could not release any more information about the man's condition but he was preparing to talk to reporters about his ordeal.
Adam Brown, an Arcata resident and independent researcher who has been studying and tracking great white sharks since the early 2000s, said they can be found off the North Coast year-round. Great white activity peaks from the end of August to the beginning of December, he said.
"If you are a surfer up here and you go in the water in the fall, the odds are good that a great white has swam by you at some point, and you didn't even know it," he said.
Brown said today's attack was likely caused by a great white, judging by the size of the bite in the victim's surfboard. While the great white is the area's most common shark, it isn't the only one. Mako sharks, blue sharks and salmon sharks can all be found off the coast, he said, although interactions with those sharks are less common.
Brown said it's more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the beach than to be attacked by a shark. Certain ocean conditions might conflict with a shark's ability to identify a food source.
"In most cases, sharks have a pretty good idea of what their food sources look like," he said. "But if the water gets really murky, either because of heavy wave or wind action, that's when a person on a surfboard starts looking a lot more like a seal."
Author: The Editors
Tags: Shark attack, North Jetty, Eureka