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Great white shark attacks Central California surfer; bite leaves man with minor injuries

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LOS OSOS, California — A man in his 50s surfing on the Central California coast survived an attack Sunday by a juvenile great white shark, state officials said.

The man sustained minor injuries and was able to paddle himself to shore, Supervising State Park Ranger Robert Colligan said. The 11:30 a.m. attack happened at the Sand Spit Beach in Montana De Oro State Park just west of San Luis Obispo.

The man surfing with a friend was one of several in the water, Colligan said.

"From what eyewitnesses said, the shark came up from underneath and hit him," said Colligan, adding that witnesses described the shark as being 8 to 10 feet long.

The unidentified man who lives in the San Luis Obispo area was bitten on the right hip. A medic who happened to be visiting the beach on his day off treated the injury until more help arrived, Colligan said. The man was flown to a local hospital for treatment.

The beach remained open, but signs will be posted for three days warning the public of the attack, Colligan said. He noted that if there is another shark sighting, the signs will remain up for another three days.

Sharks are native to the area, and Colligan said that they are spotted several times a year. He added that attacks like this are rare. A woman swimming with seals was killed by a shark in 2003 about 10 miles south of the most recent attack, Colligan said.

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