Sacramento couple stopped a California shark attack. Here’s why they jumped into action

·2 min read

One week after a shark attacked a man swimming near Monterey, the Sacramento couple that helped save him spoke publicly about their experiences since the incident.

In a Wednesday news conference, Aimee Johns and Paul Bandy recalled how their 12-year anniversary vacation took a dramatic turn when they saw a man screaming for help while paddleboarding near Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove on June 22.

Johns, a Sutter Health nurse and Bandy, a Sacramento police officer, went into the water after the man, later identified by multiple news outlets as retired Monterey teacher Steve Bruemmer, 62. Johns and Bandy pulled Bruemmer onto a surfboard and returned him to shore with the aid of surf instructor Heath Braddock.

Working alongside other beachgoers, Johns and Bandy administered first aid on Bruemmer until emergency responders arrived to transport him to a nearby hospital.

“We were just all working cohesively together — it was almost like we were running a ‘code blue’ in the hospital,” Johns said. “It was so amazingly professional. Everybody had things to do, everybody had their spot, everybody was holding pressure, holding the tourniquet, and it was just really well-coordinated.”

Johns said that since the attack she has planned to take water safety and emergency first aid courses to be better prepared to help in other emergency situations.

Bandy said that despite their traumatic experience at Lovers Point, he and his wife would still return to Monterey — and would not do anything differently if they encountered a similar situation.

“I’m not going to stop paddleboarding, and if I ever hear somebody crying for help, I’m not going to let things like danger prevent me,” Bandy said. “I like to at least think that I would respond in a similar fashion.”

Bandy said that they had been in touch with Bruemmer and his family since the incident. He emphasized how supportive Bruemmer’s friends and family had been during his recovery, adding, “no matter how big that shark was, the love that his family and friends share for him is always going to be so much bigger.”

Johns and Bandy also both expressed their gratitude for the support they have received from their own friends and family in the aftermath of the shark attack, as well as for the stability they have been able to provide each other.

“Luckily, we were both there so we can talk to each other about it,” Johns said. “I think it’s good to have someone to talk to about it. A lot of people who care about us have been reaching out to tell us how they feel, that they’re grateful we were there. It’s been kind of traumatic, but we have a lot of support.”

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