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San Diego surfer survives shark attack in Bali

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SAN DIEGO – A 24-year-old San Diego man is recovering after he was attacked by a shark while surfing in Bali.

Ryan Boarman, who was on a month-long surf trip in Indonesia, was bit Sunday morning.

“He was out waiting for a wave and suddenly felt a really sharp extremely painful bite on his elbow,” said his father, Bill Boarman.

Bill said the shark caught Ryan from behind.

“He thought it was about 6 feet,” Bill said. “Some of the surfers in that area are speculating it was a bull shark.”

“It’s very possible the shark saw the elbow or part of the arm and mistook it for a fish,” said Mike Price, a shark expert at SeaWorld San Diego and assistant curator of Zoological Operations.

“The top three predators are bull sharks along with tiger sharks and white sharks,” Price said.

He said bull sharks are common near estuaries or the mouth of rivers, where Bill said his son was surfing on Sunday. Price said bull sharks are mostly found in tropical waters.

“About the most north they come is near Cabo and Puerto Vallarta that area,” said Price.

Right after Ryan was bit, Bill said he was lucky enough to catch a wave.

“He told me, 'Dad, it was actually a really good wave,'” laughed Boarman. “He surfed all the way in to the beach and then collapsed and passed out.”

Bill said his son had to undergo surgery to his arm and is dealing with some infection.

“We’re trying to arrange a medevac to Singapore. I think they have much better facilities there,” Bill said.

Now, as Bill is ready to head overseas to be by Ryan’s side, he can’t help but think that his son was attacked by a shark and lived to tell about it.

“He could have died, he could have lost his arm, been bit somewhere else on his body, but he’s incredibly lucky,” Bill said.

Bill said Ryan will stay in the hospital for three more days or longer if he has more surgeries. When he is stable enough to travel, he will head home to San Diego.  An online fundraiser has been set up for Ryan.

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