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Eric Tarantino, California Surfer, Hospitalized After Shark Attack (VIDEO)

Eric Tarantino California Shark Attack

First Posted: 10/31/11 02:03 PM ET Updated: 10/31/11 10:52 PM ET

A surfer who was bitten in the neck last weekend by a shark at a beach near Monterey, California is now recovering in the hospital.

Eric Tarantino, 27, was only surfing for about 10 minutes at Marina State Beach before being attacked on the neck and forearm by a nine-foot shark, reports the Associated Press.

Tarantino was saved by friends who were able to pull him out of the water and stop his bleeding before he was airlifted to safety, according to the video from "The Today Show." Tarantino had spotted the shark prior to the attack but couldn't escape in time.

The power of the shark, suspected to be a great white, is reflected in the images of Tarantino's surfboard, which had a 19-inch gash in it following the attack.

Four years ago, Tarantino's friend and fellow surfer, Todd Engris, was attacked by a shark at the same beach. Engris told "The Today Show" that the news of the attack on Tarantino "shakes me up."

In an interview with "The Today Show", Tarantino's mother said she's noticed "how thankful he is that he's okay." She added that her son described the shark's strength when his arm was in its mouth as "like a car or truck pulling him along."

An American tourist was recently killed by a shark along Australia's southwest coast. The fourth death in 14 months in the area, officials aren't taking any chances. A Department of Fisheries official said, the "decision has been made that if we capture the shark we will kill it."

Despite the grisly nature of these and other shark attacks, the video from Today explains, "experts say beach goers are more likely to drown than be attacked."

Humans attacks on sharks are far more common. On average, five people are killed by sharks each year. But up to 70 million sharks are killed each year by fishermen, according to University of Florida's International Shark Attack File.

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Filed by James Gerken  |