Surfer released from hospital after being bitten by shark off Central California coast

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A man surfing on the Central California coast was dragged under water by a juvenile great white shark and bitten in the hip on Sunday. The man escaped and was flown to a local hospital. (Dec. 29)


LOS OSOS, California — A California man who was pulled off his surfboard and bitten by a juvenile great white shark was released from the hospital Monday, a spokesman for the medical center said.

The man from the San Luis Obispo area was surfing along the Central California coast Sunday when, seemingly out of nowhere, the shark dragged him underwater at Montana de Oro State Park. He popped back up a few seconds later and yelled, "Shark!"

"He was full of adrenaline. He peddled so fast out of there," witness Andrew Walsh said in a video Mike Jones took shortly after the attack.

The surfer used the leash from his board to create a tourniquet around his leg as he dashed to shore, Walsh said. A doctor who happened to be walking along the beach came to his aid and determined no arteries had been severed, Walsh said.

"We knew we had some time," he said, recalling the attack while packing his friend's surfboard into a truck. It had a deep puncture on one side and a crack, seemingly in the shape of shark teeth, on the other.

"We feel really blessed," Walsh said.

Officials said the surfer suffered cuts to his right hip area. Authorities didn't name him, but friends identified him as Kevin Swanson, an avid surfer in his 50s. Swanson did not return several requests for comment by The Associated Press.

"He's a real strong-headed guy that's a smart, educated man," Jones said. "He surfs probably more than everybody around here."

The beach will remain open, but signs will be posted for three days warning the public of the attack, Supervising State Park Ranger Robert Colligan told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. He said if there is another shark sighting, the signs will remain up for another three days.

Sharks are native to the area. Colligan said they are spotted several times a year but attacks on humans are rare.

A woman swimming with seals was killed by a shark in 2003 about 10 miles south of Sunday's attack.

Jones said he has been texting back and forth with Swanson since the attack, and the brush with a shark is unlikely to keep him from the waves.

"He says he'll be out in the water in no time," Jones said.

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