Good Samaritans Save California Shark Attack Victim

Nurse, police officer were paddleboarding when they heard cries for help
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2022 12:17 PM CDT

A swimmer was seriously injured in a rare shark attack off California's central coast Wednesday—but he survived with the help of paddleboarders who rushed to the rescue. Officials say the man was attacked just after 10:30am at Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove, Monterey County, NBC News reports. Authorities say the man suffered significant injuries to his stomach and a leg. All beaches in the area have been closed until Saturday. One on-shore witness tells the Monterey Herald that he thought he saw two people wrestling in the water—until he spotted the dorsal fin. He says the man was underwater for about 10 seconds and started calling for help when he resurfaced.

The rescuers included nurse Aimee Johns and her husband Paul Bandy, a Sacramento police officer. The couple, who were in Pacific Grove to celebrate their wedding anniversary, were paddleboarding when they heard the man cry for help, ABC10 reports. "As a police officer, I respond to emergencies all the time, so I don't think there was ever a question of whether or not we were gonna go. It was just how fast we going to be able to get there," Bandy tells KSBW. Johns says that when they got the man to shore, they had to cut off his wetsuit and apply tourniquets to each limb.

Monterey Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer says shark bites are "pretty unusual" in the region but not unheard of. He says a drone is being used to search for the shark. State Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Kirsten Macintyre says this is the first shark attack recorded at Lovers Point since a fatal one in 1952. "We want to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Good Samaritans that took immediate action and personal risk to assist the swimmer," the Pacific Grove Police Department said in a statement, per the Herald. (Read more shark attack stories.)

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