PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland surfer attacked by a shark said on Wednesday he thought he was going to die during the attack.
Joseph Tanner, 29, was attacked on October 10 by a shark while surfing at Ecola State Park not far from Cannon Beach.
A scientist at Oregon Coast Aquarium said the surfer was likely attacked by a great white shark.
Tanner was with 2 other surfers during the attack, and they paddled back to shore afterwards.
Once back on shore, Tanner, who is a nurse, instructed others nearby on how to tie a tourniquet around his leg. They used the leash of Tanner’s surfboard and square knots for the tourniquet, Oregon State Police said. The shark attack victim was then carried on his surfboard by 6 people to a nearby parking lot where they waited for an ambulance.
He was hospitalized and spoke to media about the attack on Wednesday.
Tanner said something came from behind, grabbed his leg and pulled him under the water. The survivor said it felt like being chased. He said the shark felt like “grainy sand paper,” and his entire leg was in the animal’s mouth. To get free he punched the shark’s gills.
The nurse had just gotten trauma certification before the attack and can start physical therapy in 3 weeks. Doctors believe he’ll make a full recovery. In total, the surfer spent 9 days in the hospital. He had 3 different surgeries.
When a friend called his parents in Idaho to tell them about the shark attack, Tanner said they thought it was some kind of joke at first.
Tanner said he’d go back to surfing once he is recovered.
He encouraged other surfers to know their blood type, learn how to tie a tourniquet and be aware that the shark population feeds at dusk and dawn.