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Diver Fights Way Out of Shark's Jaws

September 10, 1990|From Times Wire Services

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — An abalone diver got an unusual view of a great white shark: from the inside.

"My head was in its mouth," Rodney Orr, 49, said. "I could see the teeth at an angle."

Orr was on a paddle board in the Pacific Ocean about 25 yards offshore at Russian Gulch Beach near Jenner, Calif., Saturday when a huge shark rammed the board, knocked him off and gripped him in its jaws.

Orr tried to beat off the shark with a spear gun but didn't fire the device.

"I resorted to being a caveman and clubbed it," he said. "I was beating on him something fierce. I wasn't going to take this sitting down."

The shark let go and Orr paddled back to shore, suffering only from a few gashes on his face and neck.

"It was a really frightening experience," said Orr in his Santa Rosa home, where he was recovering after receiving numerous stitches at a hospital. "You think you know what is going to happen to you, but then you really don't."

The shark's mouth was as wide as a man's shoulders, one official said.

Orr, who survived another shark attack several years ago, said his diving hood probably saved him from more serious injuries.

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