by Ryan Burns
UPDATE #3: The surfer has been identified as Scott Stephens, a 25-year-old from Manila. Rumors of his death and errant intestines appear to have been exaggerated. He's looking good today and apparently feeling well enough to give KIEM an interview. Stephens reportedly told reporter Kelly May that in order to escape the shark, which researchers believe was a great white, he punched it in the face. Let me repeat that: Dude punched a great white shark in the face and lived to tell about it. May the rest of his life be one long victory lap.
UPDATE #2: Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On 10-30-2012, approximately 12:00 p.m., Cal Fire received a 911 call from a citizen who advised [that] a surfer had been bitten by a shark at the North Jetty while surfing. The citizen advised Cal Fire [that] the surfer was being attended to by other surfers who were loading the seriously injured surfer into a black pickup truck and transporting the surfer to an area hospital.
A Humboldt County Beach Patrol Deputy was patrolling the area about the same time and was flagged down by a citizen who asked the deputy if he was there for the shark attack. The deputy had not been dispatched yet to the scene and was unaware of the attack. The witness told the deputy the victim had already been transported.
The deputy responded to the local hospital and met with the 25-year-old adult male victim as he was going into surgery. The victim told the deputy he was bitten by a shark while surfing. The victim had an approximate 14-inch bite wound and other wounds on his body that required surgery.
UPDATE #1: The T-S reports that the victim is in "fair condition" at St. Joseph Hospital.
Humboldt Surfrider posted to its Facebook page an update about today's life-threatening shark attack on the North Jetty:
A witness and friend says he saw the victim bob underwater, then his board popped up and he screamed for help. The witness says the bite went from the victim's breast bone to his navel.
The Times-Standard also provided an update, quoting Blue Lake resident Jason Gabriel, who reportedly drove the victim from the beach into Eureka, where he was picked up by emergency responders. Gabriel gave the T-S a harrowing account of the victim's injuries:
"It punctured all the way through. There were guts and meat hanging," Gabriel said, adding that the victim appeared to be in shock. "He was going 'Oh my God, oh my God.'"
The victim has yet to be indentified.
Shark attacks and encounters have been happening more frequently than normal, according to a story last week in the Christian Science Monitor. Last Tuesday a surfer was killed in a great white attack in Santa Barbara County. Another woman was attacked Saturday while snorkeling in Maui.