Surfer rescued by Coast Guard helicopter after shark attack says he plans to keep riding waves

Article Image

The US Coast Guard rescued a surfer after a "truly terrifying" run-in with a shark near Santa Rosa Island, California.

Posted: Dec 25, 2019 4:00 PM
Updated: Dec 25, 2019 4:00 PM

Adam Coons was almost done surfing for the day. He wanted to catch just one more wave, he said in an interview Tuesday. That decision could've cost him his life.

The 37-year-old, whose rescue by a US Coast Guard helicopter was caught on video Saturday, was surfing near California's Santa Rosa Island, about 26 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, when a shark chomped down on his right leg.

"I didn't feel the bite from the adrenaline, and then I was immediately underwater getting thrashed," Coons told ABC's "Good Morning America," holding a plush toy shark his friends brought him in the hospital.

His friend, Jeremy Howard, saw the attack unfold from a nearby boat.

"It took him out of the water probably about, I'd say, 5 feet," Howard told the show. "I just said, 'C'mon buddy, you can make it. You can make it,' and just kind of cheered him back to the boat."

A former lifeguard, Howard got Coons back aboard the boat, tied a tourniquet around his friend's upper right leg and called the Coast Guard.

Santa Rosa Island is remote, especially the island's north side where Coons was surfing, so Howard's quick reaction likely saved Coons' life, Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney told CNN.

"This could have gone in a different direction, but thankfully the good Samaritan was out there," he said. "They applied the tourniquet, which is crucial. You have to get a grip on the blood flow, and that good Samaritan had their head in the right place and did everything properly."

The Coast Guard sent a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to rescue the injured surfer. Coast Guard video shows a wetsuit-clad Coons being hoisted from a boat with a white tourniquet around his right thigh.

During the interview, Coons showed his interviewer the wetsuit, which bears the scars of the attack: four or five sizable toothmarks that ripped through the neoprene.

Coons was transported to Santa Barbara Airport where emergency medical technicians treated him, the Coast Guard said. He was then taken to a local hospital.

"This individual was fortunate to be with a buddy who was able to communicate their position to the Coast Guard," Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Benjamin McIntyre-Coble said. "We are all happy that he will be able to be with his family in time for the holidays."

Coons expressed deep gratitude to his Coast Guard rescuers: "Without them I wouldn't be here. I just want to thank those guys from the bottom of my heart."

But if you think the attack will spook Coons out of the water, think again. He fully intends to continue surfing, he told the morning show.

Authorities have not said what type of shark bit Coons, but Howard said he believed it was a white shark.

According to the International Shark Attack File, white sharks have made up 97% of shark attacks in California. Leopard, mako and blue sharks have also attacked humans in California.

There was only one confirmed unprovoked shark attack last year in California, ISAF reported. Of the reported shark attacks from 2018, 53% of the victims were doing board sports.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
Copiah2854
Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
Yazoo2233
Pearl River20731
Pike20211
Adams19015
Lowndes1828
Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
Oktibbeha15010
Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
Yalobusha855
Wilkinson859
Itawamba857
Grenada823
Montgomery811
Sunflower783
Union785
Marshall763
Jefferson Davis752
Tippah7111
Tate691
Panola643
Claiborne642
Calhoun614
Webster591
Amite561
Humphreys537
Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
Prentiss413
Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Few Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather