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An Oregon surfer is recovering after a shark attack that nearly took his life.

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Cole Herrington, 20, was sitting on his surfboard on the northern Oregon coast on Dec. 6, KATU reported. His legs were dangling over both sides as he waited in the water for a wave.

Then, one of Herrington’s friends spotted a shadow under the surface, but it was too late to warn him, according to The Oregonian.

The shark rose out of the water and clamped its jaws onto Herrington’s board and body and dragging them under the water, the newspaper reported.

“I was trying to fight for my life and make sure I got back to the shore,” Herrington told KATU. “I was just kind of looking to the sky and asking God to save my life and saying, ‘I don’t want to die.’”

Officials believe Herrington was attacked by a great white shark.

Taylor Chapple, a professor at Oregon State University who has been studying white sharks for 15 years, agreed with that assessment.

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“They usually come in in the late fall and early wintertime, and so this is relatively peak time for sharks to be along the coast, but it’s very rare for us to have interactions with them, even when they’re here in their peak numbers,” Chapple told KATU.

After the attack, Herrington managed to claw his way back to the rocks by the shore, where friends attempted to stop his bleeding, the television station reported.

Amy Powell, Herrington’s mother, told The Oregonian that one wound extended from her son’s pinky toe to his heel, and the other is on his lower calf.

“What it looks like was the shark was letting go and scraped across” his leg with its teeth, Powell told the newspaper. “It looks like hamburger meat.”

The most recent attack occurred in 2019, The Oregonian reported. The victim managed to escape after the shark bit his board but missed his leg by 6 inches.

Herrington had at least two surgeries while spending several days in an area hospital, KATU reported. He said he will need physical therapy and will not be in the water any time soon, but he wants to surf again.

“My goal right now is hopefully try to get out of here tomorrow,” Herrington told KATU on Wednesday.

“I just want to remind people not to be afraid of going in the water, but realizing that when we step into the water we are in their environment, and we have to do everything we can to be safe in that environment,” Chapple told KATU.