From CNN Interactive

Shark attacks teen off California coast

August 27, 1998 Web posted at: 5:07 p.m. EDT (2107 GMT)

STINSON BEACH, California (CNN) -- A 16-year-old boogie- boarder attacked by a great white shark survived by grabbing the beast's gill slit and pulling until it released his thigh, witnesses said.

Hospital officials said Jonathan Kathrein of Terra Linda was in fair condition Thursday after he received stitches for a foot-long gash in his thigh.

Kathrein was bitten by the shark Wednesday, as he rode the waves about 50 yards off Stinson Beach. The popular park just north of San Francisco also happens to be a gathering place for seals and sea lions, favorite prey for great white sharks.

"His friends heard him screaming. They turned around to see him being pulled under," said Chris Powell, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

After fighting off the shark, the boy managed to climb back onto his board before friends and lifeguards pulled him to shore. Witnesses said he was in shock.

"He was very brave," said Marge Kathrein, who talked with her son by phone before surgery. "He said, 'I'm OK, Mom, but my leg really hurts.'"

Shark experts said that the behavior of the shark that attacked Kathrein, feeding so close to the surface, indicates that it was probably a great white.

Witnesses said that the shark was about 10 feet long.

Correspondent Denise Dillon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 1998 Cable News Network,

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