Two paddleboarders and a surfer came to the rescue of a swimmer on a beach on California’s Central Coast after hearing his panicked cries for help while he was attacked by a great white shark.
The swimmer later commented in a statement that he was incredibly lucky to have people come to his rescue.
“He screamed for help. You could tell from the sound and the emotion in his voice that something was definitely wrong, and he hit the water,” Paul Bandy told KSBW-TV in Monterey.
Bandy, a police officer, was paddle boarding with his wife, who is a nurse, when they heard the swimmer’s screams Wednesday at the popular Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove, just south of Monterey. They were in town on vacation to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
The swimmer, Steven Bruemmer, 62, a member of a swimming club that frequently uses the beach, suffered bites to his leg and torso.
Bandy and others pulled him to shore and administered first aid before he was rushed to Natividad Medical Center in Salinas.
“The shark bite was bad luck. But after that I… so luckyBruemmer said in a statement to KION-TV in Monterey on Thursday.
“The day was so calm and warm, and the beach was crowded. There were no waves and there was no swell. So people could hear me yelling ‘Help’ from a great distance,” he added.
Bandy and his wife knew what to do when they came to his rescue, Bruemmer said. A surfer giving a safety lesson ashore also jumped his board into the water and brought an extra one to bring in Bruemmer.
“Several bystanders, including a doctor and a nurse who were at the beach for a day, helped me put on tourniquets and took me to the ambulance,” he said.
“I remember… I was in the ambulance and I was like, ‘My lungs are good. I can breathe.’ … It seemed really lucky that the shark got me to a place that seemed survivable,” Bruemmer added.
Despite major injuries to his leg and abdomen, he is expected to recover. Doctors operated on him for two hours. DNA tests confirmed he was attacked by a… great white sharkaccording to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Doctors credited the Good Samaritans with saving his life. dr. Nicholas Rottler told KION that Bruemmer was lucky that no bones were broken, no organs were damaged, and no major arteries were severed. There is a clear U-ring shark bite around his pelvis, Rottler told KION.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.