Saturday, September 01, 2007

Great White shark attacks surfer

Joe Jansen first heard a scream and immediately saw a pod of dolphins swim by and a huge splash. Then he saw the great white shark on top of Todd Endris, pulling him under water at the Marina State Beach in Monterey Bay.

Endris resurfaced seconds later, blood "gushing" from gashes in his back. Jansen then pulled the 24-year-old San Jose native back onto Endris' surf board and towed him toward the shore.
"He must have been in shock because he said he didn't feel any pain," Jansen said. "He was talking to us, answering questions."

Endris' Tuesday dramatic encounter with the shark was only the 10th recorded attack on a human being in Monterey County waters since 1952. Two of those attacks were fatal.

Endris suffered bite wounds to his torso and right thigh and underwent surgery at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He was in fair condition at the hospital, where his parents held vigil for him that evening.

Since the attack on the Marina surfer, beachgoers on the southern side of Monterey Bay have been warned to stay out of the water and Marina State Beach will remain closed until state park officials and the Department of Fish and Game determine otherwise, said Loren Rex, spokesman for State Parks.

Warnings of the shark attack also have been posted from Monterey State Beach to Moss Landing Harbor.

The attack on Endris - an aquarium designer and a graduate of California State University-Monterey Bay - happened about 10:30 a.m. He was sitting on his board between waves when the 12-foot-long shark emerged from the water and bit him and his surfboard, dragging him beneath the surface.

The shark "was right on top of him and took him under," Jansen said.

Ultimately, Endris managed to ride a wave to land on his own, said Brian Simpson, 37, of Prunedale, who was also in the water at the time of the attack. "You could tell he was injured because the white water behind him was all red," Simpson said.

Jansen, Simpson and Wes Williams, who was also in the water, tended to Endris and talked to him while waiting for medical help. Endris was taken by ambulance to the Marina Municipal Airport, where he was airlifted to the San Jose hospital. The initial 911 call came from the Marina Coast Water District office, which is adjacent to the state beach's parking lot.

"A passerby ran up to the window and motioned to me that something was going on in the water," said Marc Lucca, the water district's general manager. "At first I couldn't understand him because I couldn't hear him through the water. Then he wrote 911 in the window and pointed to the water. Then I realized someone was hurt in the water."

Endris, who lives in Marina, was described as an avid surfer and a regular in the waters off Marina.
"Surfing is his passion," said his father, Michael Endris. "He knows what he's doing. He surfs everyday." His father said his son teaches surfing classes at the university and graduated in May 2006. He is also a graduate of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose.

"We were scared, of course," said his mother, Kathi Endris, on hearing the initial news of the attack from her son's friend .

Endris also worked at Picture Perfect Marine Systems shop in Marina. "He tries to surf every day it is surfable," said Pat Watson, a 58-year-old surfer and lecturer at CSU-Monterey Bay.

Watson surfed Wednesday morning further up the coast, but rushed to Marina beach when word of the shark attack spread through the surf community. "It's very unnerving," he said, his voice cracking.

Watson said a couple of kids reported seeing a shark in the water near the beach last month. "It's not really something you talk about when you're out in the water," Watson said.

Lee Morrow, who works with Endris at the aquarium shop, said he learned about the attack when he was heading to work. He ran out to the beach and took Endris' dog, a boxer-Labrador mix named Cosmo, back to the store with him.

His friends say Endris is a certified diver and has a degree in sports medicine.

Endris' friend, Chris Illig, rushed to the beach from work immediately after hearing about the attack. "It could have been anyone," said Illig. "I've been surfing with him for years. I was surfing last night, this morning, I surfed here the last four, five days straight out here. For it to happen to one of your close buddies . . ."

Marine biologist Robert Lea said it was clear the attack was by a great white shark, but not one of the biggest great whites. They can grow to more than 20 feet long, but this one was probably 12 to 13 feet, Lea said. Lea said posting the beach would be a precautionary move by state park officials.

But as to whether the shark that attacked Endris is still in the area is uncertain. "If you asked five different people, you'd probably get five different answers," he said.

Lea said August and September are the two months with the greatest number of shark attacks. But they are still a very rare occurrence.

Along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, there's an average of 2.5 shark attacks annually, he said. "It's very rare, when you think of all the people in the water, diving, kayaking, surfing," he said. "More people die from bee strings or from being hit by lightning."


Post a Comment

<< Home