POSTED: 08:20 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 02:39 p.m. HST, Oct 31, 2011
SAN JOSE, Calif. >> A surfer who was bitten in the neck by a shark off a California beach left the hospital Monday, two days after his brush with death.
Eric Tarantino, 27, was surfing with friends Saturday morning at Marina State Beach in Monterey County when a 9-foot shark bit him on the neck and right forearm. The animal also left teeth marks on his red surfboard, his friends said.
Tarantino was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center of San Jose. He thanked his friends who rescued him on the beach, the paramedics and hospital staff as he was released.
"I feel really lucky and grateful right now," he said as he got out of a wheelchair and into his girlfriend's car.
The bite narrowly missed Tarantino's jugular vein and carotid artery, hospital spokeswoman Bev Mikalonis said.
"It was a potentially fatal injury," she said. "But he's fine and he's in good shape and should recover fully."
Tarantino's friend, Brandon McKibben, of Salinas, helped him out of the water, and other surfers used beach towels to try to stop his bleeding, according to the Monterey Herald.
Signs were posted along the area's beaches advising of the shark danger and recommending that beachgoers stay out of the water for the next week, said Dana Jones of the California Department of Parks and Recreation.