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

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 l...

Posted: Dec 24, 2019 12:03 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.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314841

Reported Deaths: 3624
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51325643
Washington35086277
Marion32748396
Clackamas26680275
Lane24145248
Jackson21050257
Deschutes16703103
Umatilla12736125
Douglas10795188
Linn1051487
Josephine8685169
Yamhill752099
Klamath651892
Polk629171
Malheur485567
Benton463728
Coos420669
Columbia325439
Jefferson315347
Lincoln277930
Union274838
Wasco242339
Crook213639
Clatsop213225
Tillamook182023
Baker176123
Morrow168621
Curry167817
Hood River163435
Harney82319
Grant7848
Lake6988
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4651497

Reported Deaths: 68087
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144634825870
Riverside3583834802
San Diego3502674021
San Bernardino3475745507
Orange3150815355
Sacramento1507202105
Santa Clara1407321841
Kern1362881521
Fresno1361631889
Alameda1164051330
Ventura978991120
San Joaquin975341615
Contra Costa95858924
Stanislaus808921235
Tulare73111896
San Mateo52311607
San Francisco52008605
Monterey49485565
Solano44247312
Santa Barbara43189500
Sonoma39476378
Merced39446536
Placer36612364
Imperial34285755
Kings30179285
San Luis Obispo28351313
Madera21749263
Butte21379231
Shasta20763279
Santa Cruz20176211
Yolo19192239
Marin17127242
El Dorado16037127
Sutter13122153
Napa1228795
Yuba928061
Nevada850185
Humboldt831988
Tehama827784
San Benito709567
Mendocino691176
Lassen637927
Tuolumne616993
Lake605887
Amador493059
Glenn399030
Siskiyou391541
Calaveras342766
Del Norte339034
Colusa291018
Inyo166739
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa100712
Trinity72610
Modoc6278
Unassigned2120
Sierra1980
Alpine1000
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 58°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 69°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 58°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 58°
Klamath Falls
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 41°
Heating up again late week.
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events