A California surfer was attacked by a shark off the Sonoma Coast on Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after 9 a.m., authorities responded to the scene at North Salmon Creek Beach where a man in his 30s sustained severe injuries to the leg from a shark bite, officials told KPIX.
Others nearby were able to help the man by applying a tourniquet made of surfboard leashes to his leg while waiting for emergency personnel. The man was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the news outlet reports.
Surfer Jared Davis said he was paddling out near the man at the time of the attack. After a swell, Davis noticed the man was having an altercation with a shark.
“When he was back into view, I saw the dorsal fin of the shark and then I saw the tail fin of the shark kind of going down into the water,” Davis said. “It definitely wasn’t a quick attack. It was nice and slow.”
RELATED: Florida Teen Survives Shark Attack After Losing 70 Percent of His Blood: ‘I Feel Pretty Lucky’
After a few moments, the man was able to get away from the shark and paddle into shore alongside Davis.
“He had kind of caught up to me and I saw his leg. It looked like he had a red stripe on his wetsuit, which is pretty common but that was actually blood,” Davis told KPIX.
Another surfer told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that the shark attacked the man from the side and sunk its teeth into the back of his upper leg.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE‘s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
The man’s injuries were severe, but he is expected to survive. He was conscious when paramedics were evaluating him, Bodega Bay Fire Capt. David Bynum told the newspaper.
The Sonoma Coast usually has the most sharks in the late summer and fall, Sgt. Tim Murphy, a Sonoma Coast State Park supervising lifeguard, said to the Press Democrat.
“That’s when a lot of sharks that have migrated come back into this area,” said Murphy, who is also a surfer. “We know they’re out there. We just coexist with them.”
The fire department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.