Coast shark attack: Warning signs, witness statements

First attack off Oregon in three years

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The state Parks and Recreation Department says Indian Beach at Ecola State Park will remain open despite a reported shark attack.

Spokesman Chris Havel said Tuesday that park employees will post advisory signs informing the public a shark was spotted.

Oregon State Police say the shark bit 29-year-old Joseph Tanner of Portland. The surfer made it back to shore Monday afternoon and was flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for an injury described as serious.

A hospital spokesman said Tuesday he had no information about the patient. A fellow surfer who was at the beach Monday told KGW that Tanner works as a trauma nurse and directed his own first aid.

Oregon State Police said Tuesday there were two additional surfers who were in the water with Tanner, West Woodworth, 29, and a 42-year-old man who asked not to be identified, both from Portland.

Woodworth told troopers Tanner had been in the water for approximately 10-15 minutes before the shark attack occurred.

Woodworth said he was paddling toward Tanner and the other man when he saw Tanner start to flail around and then get back on his board. He then heard Tanner scream to get out of the water.

Woodworth ssaid all three started paddling back into the shoreline, about 30 to 40 yards away.

Tanner was able to get almost to the shoreline when Woodworth pulled him out of the water. Tanner started directing Woodworth and other people on the beach on how to tie a tourniquet around his leg. They eventually used the leash of Tanner's surfboard with square knots as the tourniquet.

Tanner was then placed on his board and with the help of about a half-dozen people,) they carried him to the parking lot, where they waited about 15 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

The other man said he was about 10 feet away when he noticed Tanner slip off his board. The movement was unusual, so he asked  Tanner if he was okay.

The man then saw what appeared to him as a large dorsal fin and the back of the shark. The man said he believed the shark was grey and the back (part that he could see) was about eight feet long.

Tanner then yelled at the male to get out of the water and they all started paddling toward the shore. It wasn't until they were at the shore that the man realized that Tanner had been bitten.  

An online database shows it was the first shark attack off the Oregon coast since 2013.

According to, people off Oregon's coast have reported being injured by sharks three times in the past decade. While the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department isn't involved in managing recreation offshore, but it does post information about wildlife encounters.

As a natural, wild place, people coming to the Oregon coast can prepare themselves to enjoy the ocean shore by visiting For people using the ocean offshore, especially surfers, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department recommends consulting fellow surfers.

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