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Monterey Bay shark attack survivor to make full recovery, credits ‘good Samaritans’ who rushed to his aid

A swimmer was seriously injured in a shark attack this week in Monterey Bay.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In a statement from his hospital bed, Steve Bruemmer thanked some good Samaritans for helping to save his life after he was attacked by a shark this week in Monterey Bay.

Bruemmer, 62, said the water was calm and the shore filled with visitors when the attack occurred early Wednesday at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. This made it possible for people to hear his cries for help.

“Without all those things going right, if it had been a choppy day, then they wouldn’t have heard me on the Monterey Rec Trail. So yeah, I’m lucky,” Bruemmer said in a statement sent to local TV stations based in Salinas. “Without all those things going right, I could have bled out.”

Pacific Grove police responded to reports of a shark attack just before 11 a.m. Wednesday. Bruemmer was assisted by two nearby paddleboarders, who happened to be a nurse and a police officer, according to his statement. A surfer teaching a safety class nearby reacted swiftly and brought over an extra board.

The attack occurred at Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove. The swimmer suffered major injuries to the stomach and leg, according to a news report.

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“Those three got me onto the extra board, and they had me hold the surfer’s ankle while he paddled like crazy to get me to the beach,” Bruemmer said. “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.”

The shark came within a millimeter of severing a major artery, according to Bruemmer’s doctor, Nicholas Rottler, a trauma surgeon at Natividad Medical Center who spoke with KSBW.

“The injuries that he had were easy for us to fix, but if they’d been much deeper, if it severed a major artery, he could’ve bled out in the water before anyone could get him to shore. So it could’ve been much, much worse,” Rottler told KSBW.

Bruemmer remembers being afraid that he would bleed out as he was lying in an ambulance, while being transported to Natividad Medical Center.

“I was lying in the ambulance, and I thought, ‘my lungs are good. I can breathe.’ So I didn’t know if I was going to bleed to death, but my lungs were good,” Bruemmer said. “And it seemed really lucky that the shark got me in a spot that seemed survivable. I was in the ambulance, thinking I don’t know if I was going to survive, but at least I could breathe.”

Bruemmer did not break any bones or suffer any major organ damage, ABC7 reported. He is currently listed in fair condition at Natividad Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery.

Lovers Point beach, along with Sea Palm turnout, will stay closed until Saturday, a full 72 hours after the attack, according to police.


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