PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — An off-duty Sacramento police officer and his wife, who’s a nurse, were among a group of good Samaritans who helped rescue a swimmer who was seriously injured in a shark attack off the Central California coast Wednesday morning.
Paul Bandy and his wife, Amee Johns, were paddle-boarding near Lovers Point in the Monterey County town of Pacific Grove celebrating their wedding anniversary when suddenly they spotted a swimmer screaming for help.READ MORE: 'It Just Makes Your Heart Melt': Folsom Marine Injured In Kabul Bombing Gets Hero's Welcome Home
“You could tell, just the sound and the emotion in his voice, that there was something definitely wrong. And he was slapping the water. I wasn’t sure if that was some sort of thing, he was trying to get something away from him, or if he was trying to draw attention to himself,” Bandy told KSBW.
Surveillance video from a nearby restaurant captured the rescue. Crews say the man was swimming about 150 yards offshore when the shark bit him in the torso and the leg. Bandy and Johns knew they had to act fast.
“We had to quickly cut his wet suit off of him and open it all up and try to apply the tourniquets to each limb and his abdomen, put the pressure there. He was bleeding severely,” Johns told KSBW.
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 CBS affiliate KION-TV.READ MORE: Yolo County Program Trades Safe Fireworks For Illegal Ones
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. It wasn’t immediately clear what type of shark attacked Bruemmer.
Firefighters deployed a drone to search for the shark, but there were no immediate sightings.
Police said the beach at Lovers Point, which is on the south end of Monterey Bay, will remain closed until Saturday.
“As a police officer, I respond to emergencies all the time so I don’t think there was ever a question of whether or not we were going to go. It was just how fast we were gonna be able to get there,” Bandy told KSBW.
Shark attacks in California are rare. However, Tomas Butterfield, 42, of Sacramento was killed in a shark attack in Morro Bay in central California last Christmas Eve.MORE NEWS: Experts: California Lacked Safeguards For Gun Owner Info
It was the only unprovoked fatal shark attack in the United States last year.