California surfer survives great white shark attack

Mon Dec 29, 2014 2:27pm EST
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By Michael Fleeman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 50-year-old shark attack victim was listed in good condition on Monday, recovering in a Central California hospital after he was bitten in the leg and dragged underwater by a great white while surfing over the weekend.

Kevin Swanson was in the water at Montana de Oro State Park near Morro Bay Sunday morning when a juvenile great white shark measuring 8 to 10 feet in length swam up from under him and took a bite out of his surfboard, chomping into his right leg and thigh.

“It was really radical,” fellow surfer Andrew Walsh, who was with Swanson in the water, told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Walsh said he was about 10 feet away from Swanson and that all was calm before the shark suddenly appeared.

It "came straight up out of the depths and got him and took him under the water," Walsh recalled. "That was the amazing part. This big giant side of the shark just curving up out of the water.”

Swanson disappeared beneath the surface for several seconds, then surfaced with his board and was able to paddle to shore, where he fastened his leash cord as a tourniquet around his own bloodied leg, Walsh told the newspaper.

An ambulance took Swanson to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in nearby San Luis Obispo.

“We've upgraded his condition to good condition," hospital spokesman Ron Yukelson said on Monday, adding that privacy laws prohibited him from further comment.

The beach was not closed but notices were posted telling visitors of the attack, state park ranger supervisor Robert Colligan said.   Continued...