Calif. Pastor Cries Out to God, Jumps into Rough Sea, Rescues Shark Attack Victim

A 57-year-old pastor from California rescued a German woman, whose arm had been bitten off by a shark, by jumping into the water and pulling her through strong ocean currents onto a shore in Hawaii.

"I started crying out to God and I got this burst of strength," Rick Moore, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., told The Associated Press, of how he saved a 20-year-old German visitor, Jana Witteropp, who was snorkeling in about 20-foot-deep water off Palauea Beach in Makena last week.

"As soon as we stand on the beach, we heard this bloodcurdling scream," Moore said. "We look out and there was blood everywhere in the white water around her. ... About 10 feet from her, I saw her floating on her back, with no arm. It was completely severed from her body."

Moore, also a physical education teacher, backstroked about 100 yards against strong tides to bring her to a shore.

He was aware of the danger involved in rescuing her. "It dawned on me - I was in danger now," he said. "The shark is around me and she's bleeding. I start praying out loud, 'God, God protect us.' She said, 'I'm dying. I know I'm going to die.'"

But Moore kept saying to her, "No, you're not. We are going to get you to shore. We're going to save you,'" according to NBC4.

"He was pretty heroic and selfless to dive in the water when by this stage she was surrounded by a pool of blood which we could see form the shore," Joshua Craddock, a 23-year-old from London who was sunbathing on the beach at the time and called 911 for help, was quoted as saying.

The victim was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center, and was stable Friday.

"I'll never be so happy to see somebody as much as I will to see him come home and be safe," the pastor's wife, Diane Moore, was quoted as saying. She said her husband will be welcomed back home as a hero.

It was the sixth such attack in Hawaii this year thus far, according to NBC4. At least 11 shark attacks were reported in the state last year.

Authorities advise that swimming, snorkeling and surfing be done with other people, and not alone. They also recommend people avoid the sea at dawn and dusk, when the chances of the presence of shark species are more.