Surfer has close call with shark on Oregon Coast - KPTV - FOX 12

Surfer has close call with shark on Oregon Coast

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NEWPORT, OR (KPTV) -

A great white shark bit a huge chunk out of a surfboard while its rider was catching a wave off the coast of South Beach State Park in Newport on Thursday.

"All the sudden I saw a two-foot fin coming out of the water and it lifted up my friend in the air," said Ron Clifford, who was in the water near the surfer who was attacked. "I was scared for my life. I've never seen anything like that. It was like witnessing an almost murder."

The surfer, Bobby Gumm, made it to shore unharmed, but his friends said he was shaken up by what had happened.

SLIDESHOW: Shark bites chunk out of surfboard off Oregon Coast

The shark bit 23 inches off Gumm's board. His friends swam with him as they returned to shore.

"It felt like eternity. It was slow motion," Clifford said. "It breaks about two football fields. That was the slowest time in my life."

Friends said a shark expert examined the board and the bite mark, and they determined the shark was between 16- and 20-feet long. 

A scientist with the Oregon Coast Aquarium said shark attacks are very rare, but they are attracted to the area because of the rich ecosystem.

The predators feast on marine mammals and salmon, among other things.

"Usually, we don't bother them (and) they don't bother us. But today we all felt something," Clifford said.

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