Shark attack on central California coast severely injures swimmer, police close beach

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PACIFIC GROVE – A swimmer was seriously injured in a shark attack on the central California coast Wednesday, police said.

The attack occurred at midmorning at Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove, about 85 miles south of San Francisco, the Pacific Grove Police Department said in a statement.

The swimmer, a man, suffered “significant injuries from the shark bite,” and was taken to a hospital, police said. The victim’s identity was not immediately released.

Witnesses told KSBW that the victim sustained severe torso injuries and the scene at the beach was chaotic. City officials said he had injuries to his stomach and leg.

A friend, Jill Hannley, identified the swimmer as Stephen Bruemmer, a retired Monterey Penninsula College professor in his 60s. He suffered a broken femur but he was awake and was expected to recover, she told KION-TV.

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Nearby swimmers and surfers towed the injured man to the beach on a surfboard, where other good Samaritans began first aid before he was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

“I was nervous, I have to admit,” rescuer Amee Johns told KNTV-TV. “I was very nervous because I was at one point off my paddleboard and I was swimming and kicking because the surfer was pulling him and I was pushing from behind.”

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It wasn't immediately clear what age, sex or type of shark attacked. Firefighters deployed a drone to search for the shark, but there were no immediate sightings.

Police said the beach at Lovers Point, on the south end of Monterey Bay, will remain closed until Saturday.

“We want to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Good Samaritans that took immediate action and personal risk to assist the swimmer,” the department said in a news release. “We send our prayers and thoughts to the swimmer and their family.”

Last year: Great white shark killed California bodyboarder on Christmas Eve, report confirms

Shark attacks in California are rare. However, Tomas Butterfield, 42, of Sacramento was killed in a shark attack in Morro Bay last Christmas Eve.

It was the only unprovoked fatal shark attack in the United States last year.

This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Swimmer critically injured by shark attack on central California coast