PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A surfer was attacked by a shark at Ecola State Park on Monday afternoon.
Oregon State Police said 29-year-old Joseph Tanner was surfing at Indian Beach on October 10 when the attack happened. He and Steve Gehrig were sitting on their boards out in the ocean when Gehrig noticed Tanner had gone under.
“He kind of just lurched real funny – it looked like he had slipped off his board but a little more violently than you would see someone slip and I was like, did he just slip or was that something different?” Gehrig told KOIN.
They tried to make it back to shore, but the shark bit Tanner on his upper thigh and lower leg.
“I saw the back. The dorsal fin was like this big, it kind of came up over and whipped around and it was just real fast,” Gehrig said.
Witnesses told KOIN 6 News several other people in the area got Tanner back to shore and carried him up from the beach to the parking lot where they started treating his wounds.
“Joe stayed conscious the whole time was able to ask questions. Gave us his blood type, his phone number,” witness Jeffrey Rose said.
KOIN learned that Tanner is a critical care nurse at Legacy Emanuel and was able to tell his rescuers what to do.
“He was directing them, telling them how to fix him and they were putting a tourniquet on him with the leash,” Rose said.
The people at the scene stayed to help until paramedics arrived. Tanner was stabilized at the scene before being flown to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland.
Friends at the hospital told KOIN 6 News Tanner is having surgery on his extensive wounds but there was no major artery damage and he is expected to keep is leg.
Locals put a makeshift sign at Indian Beach warning of the potential danger to night and early morning beach-goers. On Tuesday officials said they will post official warning signs.