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Calif. surfer bitten by shark saved by tourniquet of surfboard leashes

Bodega Volunteer Fire Department Paramedics Jonathan Bauer and Timothy Saluzzo said the makeshift tourniquet may have saved the surfer’s leg


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Don Sweeney
The Sacramento Bee

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. — A shark bit a surfer as he paddled out to the waves off a Sonoma County beach near Bodega Bay on Sunday morning, California authorities say.

“I saw the tail fin of a shark, they were kind of going down into the water,” fellow surfer Jared Davis told KGO about the 9 a.m. attack. His friend, a man in his 30s who had been bitten on the thigh, began yelling “shark,” Davis said.

Fellow surfers rushed over to help push the injured man to North Salmon Creek Beach on a longboard while improvising a tourniquet to slow his bleeding, The Press Democrat reported.


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“We did that with two separate surf leashes — tied them as tight as we could,” Davis told KGO.

Bodega Volunteer Fire Department paramedics Jonathan Bauer and Timothy Saluzzo told the station the makeshift tourniquet may have saved the surfer’s leg.

The man told paramedics he saw the shark, describing it as large, and fought with it, KPIX reported.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter flew the injured surfer to a Santa Rosa hospital, officers reported on Facebook.

“He was conscious and alert when he left the scene but obviously had a significant wound to his leg,” firefighter Josh Perucchi told The Mercury News. “He’s expected to survive.”

Authorities don’t know what kind of shark attacked the man, KTVU reported.

Authorities closed beaches within two miles of the site of the attack, KPIX reported.

“I’m sure some people will definitely be a little more cautious and others will be like, ‘Oh, they’re always out there,’” surf shop owner Sarah Dougherty told The Press Democrat.

There have been 198 shark incidents involving humans in California since 1950, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife reported.

Fourteen people have been killed by sharks, all of them involving great whites, the agency said.

In May 2020, a shark attack killed surfer Ben Kelly, 26, off a Santa Cruz beach, McClatchy News reported.


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