A swimmer who was bitten by a shark around 10:30am on Wednesday, June 22, is doing well after surgery. The success of life-saving measures is thanks to the swift response of bystanders who got the injured swimmer to shore as emergency responders arrived; the Monterey Fire Department's boat cancelled its response after officials learned that the swimmer had already been rescued.
Heath Braddock, a surfer who lives in Elkhorn, was teaching a surf/environmental stewardship training to kids just about 10 feet offshore when he heard a voice calling for help. He says at first, he thought maybe it was part of a drill—but he responded fast. Braddock grabbed two boards off the beach, and paddled quickly to the injured swimmer, who was still conscious.
With the assistance of two standup paddle-boarders who were paddling back in when they encountered 62-year-old Steve Bruemmer in the water, Braddock loaded him face-down onto one of the surf boards; Bruemmer held onto Braddock's foot, and Braddock paddled to shore.
"As we approached, there was a pool of blood probably the size of a car around him," Braddock says.
Once Braddock got him into shore, the swimmer remained facedown on the board, and people carried it like a gurney to get assistance. Braddock saw first responders cut off his wetsuit and describes the injuries as "definitely the worst wounds I've ever seen."
Bruemmer was transported by ambulance to Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, where treatment took about two hours. There was no major damage to arteries or organs, Natividad trauma surgeon Nicholas Rottler said in a statement. Due to blood loss, Bruemmer received a transfusion of about 30 pints, and the trauma center team did mostly wound cleaning.
Beaches from Lovers Point to Sea Palm Avenue in Pacific Grove will remain closed at least until Saturday, June 25, in keeping with State Parks protocol in the event of shark bites.
This story has been updated to reflect more detail from Natividad Medical Center.