California Great White Shark Attack Eyewitness Saw Victim Collapse on Beach

An eyewitness to a shark attack in California has spoken out about what he saw, telling of how he helped the victim on the beach following the incident.

The victim was swimming off the Grey Whale Cove State Beach on Saturday morning when he was bitten in the right leg by a six- to eight-foot-long great white shark, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The man managed to swim to shore with assistance from bystanders who started providing the victim with medical care until first responders arrived, San Mateo County Fire Battalion Chief Brian Ham said.

Thomas Masotta was fishing off Gray Whale Cove when he heard the victim in the surf calling for help.

"He yelled, 'Hey guy!' When he saw that I had seen him, he collapsed to the ground," Masotta told ABC7. "There was a lot of blood running down his leg."

Masotta called 911 and the began to help the victim by using the straps on his backpack to stop the bleeding on the man's upper right leg.

"Luckily, the straps detach, I was able to unclip and use them as a tourniquet," Masotta said.

Eventually, first responders arrived and started rendering aid to the victim, who had a severe wound on the back of the right leg.

"He lost about a pint of blood," Fire Battalion's Ham told ABC7.

The rescue was complicated due to conditions being too foggy at the beach for helicopters to land there.

As a result, the victim had to be carried by paramedics up a steep stairway and onto a nearby highway where he was rushed to hospital.

"The surfer did get a look at the shark to confirm it was a great white," Ham said.

Officials closed off the ocean at Gray Whale Cove to swimmers and surfers following the incident. The victim was treated at hospital on Saturday but has now been released and is recovering.

Some local surfers said they weren't scared of going into the ocean at the cove, despite the latest attack.

"[Sharks] don't want to eat you, you're basically a piece of beef jerky still in the wrapper," local surfing instructor James Walthen told ABC7.

Shark attacks are very rare—and fatal incidents are even rarer. The odds of being killed by a shark are about one in 3.7 million, according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), operated by the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In fact, you are more likely to die from a lightning strike than being attacked by a shark.

In 2020, 57 shark attacks were recorded around the world, 10 of which were fatal, ISAF figures show.

A great white shark
Stock image showing a great white shark. A man was attacked by a great white shark off the coast of California on Saturday. iStock