An Oregon beach remained open but officials urged caution Friday, a day after a surfer survived a near-shark attack just off the shore.
Bobby Gumm, out surfing with friends about 200 feet from the beach, got the surprise of his life Thursday when he was suddenly launched into the air by an apparent great white shark, witnesses told local media.
“All the sudden I saw a 2-foot fin coming out of the water and it lifted up my friend in the air," Ron Clifford told CNN affiliate KPTV. Clifford was in the water when the incident happened. "I was scared for my life. I've never seen anything like that. It was like witnessing an almost murder," he was quoted as saying.
Chris Havel, spokesman for South Beach State Park where the incident happened, said warning signs were posted immediately after the incident.
“We acted on it right away because it was very obvious and proven, and it came from an experienced and knowledgeable person,” Havel told CNN on Friday.
Also there was the matter of a huge 23-inch chunk of the surf board missing.
Clifford said his friend is fortunate to be alive.
"I saw the water churning up like there was a bunch of piranhas," Clifford told CNN affiliate KHON. "I saw the shark actually lift my friend up with the board and everything, it looked like an old geyser or something just lifted him out of the water about 10 feet," he was quoted as saying.
Havel said that while shark sightings in the area this time of year are not uncommon, close encounters like this are. “This time of year the salmon are coming in and moving into their spawning beds,” he said. “And with them come all the predators that follow - bears, sharks,” he said.
Havel said there have been other close encounters with sharks already this year.
Unlike surfers who sometimes experience close calls but immediately vow to return to the water, Gumm is done, Clifford told KHON. "He's a great short boarder, and he said he didn't want to surf again, and he was very blessed that he could see his kids now," KHON quoted Clifford as saying.
Gumm was born in Hawaii, is married, and has five children, KHON reported.