A 20 year-old surfer is lucky to be alive after he was attacked by a great white shark in Oregon.

The Oregonian reported that Cole Herrington, 20, was surfing with two friends on Sunday at a popular area called The Cove south of Seaside when a shark suddenly bit him as he dangled his feet over the surfboard.

The shark bit on both the board and Herrington’s lower leg, dragging him under the water at one point before finally releasing him. Experts have said that both the location and the details behind the attack indicate that it was a great white shark that bit Herrington, who is “still in shock,” according to his mother.

“That fella has a lot to be thankful for,” A. Peter Klimley, a retired University of California professor who has written two books about sharks. “If a shark really wanted to consume him, it could have.”

Kimley explained that the shark likely released Herrington because it was attracted to the movement of his surfboard. He said that the shark likely released Herrington, who wants to be an electrician, upon realizing that he was not a seal.

“If they don’t want to release something, they don’t have to,” Klimley added. “This surfer was small and helpless in the mouth of the shark. The shark made a decision it didn’t want to eat him and let him go.”

Amy Powell, Herrington’s mother, said that he was left with both a wound on his calf and a wound that runs from his pinky toe to his heel.

“What it looks like was the shark was letting go and scraped across [Herrington’s leg],” Powell said. “It looks like hamburger meat.”

She went on to say that her son was having his second surgery on Tuesday at a hospital in Portland, and that he is also dealing with PTSD from the attack.

“I think he’s still in shock,” Powell said, adding that her son has not talked much since the incident.

“Cole said he didn’t even see the shark,” she added. “All of a sudden, he was under the water. All of a sudden, the adrenaline kicked in. He doesn’t remember much of it.”

Shark attacks are rare in Oregon, and this was the first one in the state since 2016. In that case, the victim was a female nurse who was bit in the leg, and she also survived.

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