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California surfer injured in shark attack

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A surfer suffered “significant” injuries after he was bitten by a shark at a California beach Wednesday morning. 

Just before 11 a.m., a man surfing off Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove was injured in a shark attack, Pacific Grove Police Chief Cathy Madalone confirmed in a statement. 

Shortly after the attack, the surfer was rushed to Natividad Hospital in Salinas to be treated. He suffered major injuries to his stomach, arm and leg, according to Pacific Grove City Council member Joe Amelio.

He was identified Thursday by Natividad Hospital as 62-year-old Steve Bruemmer of Monterey.

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The hospital said Bruemmer underwent a two-hour surgery following the attack, is in fair condition and is expected to make a “full recovery.”

The bite did not do damage to any “major arteries, bones or organs,” according to Dr. Nicholas Rottler, one of the trauma surgeons who operated on Bruemmer.

Rottler also praised the “quick reaction” of good Samaritans in “saving Bruemmer’s life.”

Bruemmer, in a statement through the hospital, said two paddleboarders who were nearby in the water, along with a surfing teacher who was on the beach teaching a class, “knew what to do.”

“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,” Bruemmer said.

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Bruemmer is a triathlete who has been swimming in Monterey Bay once or twice per week for the last decade, the hospital said.

In compliance with protocol, California State Parks closed down the beaches at Lovers Point and Sea Palm turnout through Saturday, as the Monterey and Seaside fire departments conduct a search for the shark using aerial drones. 

Police said the shark has not yet been sighted, and thanked the good Samaritans that rushed to aid the surfer following the attack. Video posted to social media by bystander Kevin Phillips appeared to show the victim being taken to shore by paddle boarders or surfers.

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