Shark attack victim: “I didn’t know if I was going to bleed to death”

A swimmer who was attacked by a shark Wednesday morning off a Pacific Grove beach about one mile west of the Monterey Bay Aquarium says he was bitten so badly he was concerned he might bleed to death, and owes his life to good Samaritans who rushed to his rescue.

“The shark bite was unlucky. But after that, I have just had so much good luck,” Steve Bruemmer, 62, said in a statement released Thursday night to KION and KSBW, local TV stations based in Salinas.

Bruemmer, a Monterey resident, remains hospitalized at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. He retired last year as an IT specialist and computer science instructor at Monterey Peninsula College, and regularly swims off the Pacific Grove shoreline with the Kelp Krawlers, an open water ocean swimming club. But on Wednesday, he was swimming alone.

“The day was so calm and warm, and the beach was crowded,” he said in the statement. “There were no waves, and there was no chop. So people could hear me yelling “Help!” from a great distance, including from the Rec Trail, where someone called 911.”

Bruemmer was bitten multiple times at about 10:35 a.m., witnesses said, causing severe injuries to his legs and torso.

Scientists at California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s forensic lab in Sacramento confirmed late Thursday that the shark that attacked Bruemmer while he was swimming off Lovers Point was a great white.

DNA samples from Bruemmer’s wetsuit were used to identify the species of shark. Researchers at the lab are trying now to identify the size of the shark based on the size and orientation of the bite marks on his wetsuit, said Jordan Traverso, a spokeswoman for the department.

Moments after Bruemmer was attacked, severely bleeding and yelling for help, several people nearby rushed to his rescue, including Aimee Johns, a nurse from Folsom, and her husband, Paul Bandy, an off-duty Sacramento police officer, who were paddle boarding in the area as part of a trip to celebrate their wedding anniversary. A nearby surfer, Heath Braddock, also came to help.

“On the beach, a surfer was teaching a safety class. He had the presence of mind to get in the water on his board and bring an extra board. Those three (Braddock, Johns and Bandy) got me onto the extra board, and they had me hold the surfer’s ankle while he paddled like crazy to get me to the beach. They, along with several bystanders, including a doctor and a nurse who were on the beach for the day, helped put tourniquets on me and get me to the ambulance.”

Beaches around Lovers Point remain closed until Saturday.

While he was lying in the ambulance, Bruemmer tried to ascertain his chances of surviving.

“I thought, ‘my lungs are good. I can breathe,” Bruemmer said. “So I didn’t know if I was going to bleed to death, but my lungs were good. And it seemed really lucky that the shark got me in a spot that seemed survivable. I was in the ambulance, thinking I don’t know …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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