PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (KRON) — Moments after a shark attacked a man off Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove on Wednesday, good Samaritans pulled the injured swimmer onto a surfboard and paddled him out of the ocean, police and witnesses told KRON4.
Police officers and paramedics responded to a report of a shark attack at the popular beach at 10:35 a.m. The swimmer suffered “significant injuries” from shark bites and was transported to Natividad Hospital, Pacific Grove Police Chief Cathy Madalone said.
The victim was identified by fellow swimmers as Steve Bruemmer.
Good Samaritans risked their own safety to help the victim after the shark attacked, Madalone said.
Two of the good Samaritans were identified as paddle boarders, and a third was a local surfing instructor. An off-duty Sacramento police officer, Paul Bandy, and his wife, Amy Johns, were paddle boarding near Lovers Point when they saw the swimmer screaming for help in the water.
“The swimmer was hemorrhaging a lot of blood, it was all around. We immediately paddled to him,” Bandy told KRON4.
The surf instructor also paddled out with an extra surfboard.
“We pulled the injured swimmer onto the board and took him to shore where paramedics were just arriving. The injuries were severe and two tourniquets were placed on the victim to help control bleeding,” the off-duty officer told KRON4.
Bandy and Johns had traveled from Sacramento to Lovers Point to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
The victim’s friends told KRON4 that he is an avid swimmer who usually doesn’t swim on Wednesdays. But warm, sunny weather made him decide to go for a swim. Police said the swimmer was bitten in the leg and the stomach.
While recovering in a trauma center late Wednesday afternoon, Bruemmer was alert and talking. His friends said the shark’s teeth thankfully did not puncture a major artery. He suffered a broken femur.
“It was a very large shark. He’s going to survive, but it’s going to be a long recovery,” a fellow swimmer told KRON4.
Police Chief Madalone wrote, “We want to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Good Samaritans that took immediate action and personal risk to assist the swimmer. We send our prayers and thoughts to the swimmer and their family.”
The Monterey Fire Department deployed a drone for an aerial search of the water. As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been no further sightings of the aggressive shark. All beaches between Lovers Point and Sea Palm will remain closed until Saturday as a precaution.
Officials have not yet identified what species the shark is. Great white sharks live in the Monterey Bay and were responsible for other attacks against people in previous years.
In May of 2020, surfer Ben Kelly was killed by a great white shark in the Monterey Bay. Kelly, 26, was catching waves off Sand Dollar Beach when the shark bit his leg and struck an artery. Jorge Moreno of California State Parks said the shark was between 10-12 feet long. Scientists confirmed its species by using DNA collected from Kelly’s wetsuit and surfboard.