A man who was attacked by a great white shark off a southern California beach has described how quickly a routine swim turned into a nightmare.
Steven Robles was in the water off Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles when the 7ft juvenile shark suddenly appeared yesterday morning.
He told KABC-TV that the shark looked at him and “locked into my chest”.
Mr Robles was taken to shore and brought to hospital but was later released.
Witnesses said the shark had been hooked by a fisherman on a nearby pier and was thrashing in the water for more than 30 minutes before biting Mr Robles about 300 yards off shore.
The beach, crowded over the July 4 holiday weekend, was later reopened.
Witnesses said the approximately 7ft shark was thrashing around in the water for more than 30 minutes before biting the swimmer about 300 yards off the beach.
Eric Martin told KABC-TV that the shark’s mouth opened and closed as if it was trying to shake the hook.
“We think the swimmer just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Martin said.
The fisherman cut the line, and a surfer put Mr Robles on his board, taking him ashore with the help of Los Angeles County lifeguards. Paramedics then began treating him.
The beaches remained open, but a mile-long stretch was temporarily off-limits to swimmers. Police also prohibited fishing from the pier until today as a precaution.
Shark sightings are on the rise at some Southern California beaches, especially in the waters off Manhattan Beach, which is a popular spot for surfers and paddle boarders.
The beach also attracted large crowds on the holiday weekend.
“There’s a sighting almost on a daily basis out here,” Flores said.
Marine biologists say many of the sharks are juveniles learning to feed and fend for themselves.
Captain Tracy Lizotte, a Los Angeles County lifeguard at the beach, told the Los Angeles Times that sharks usually avoid people and said the animal accidentally bit the swimmer because it had become agitated.
Shark attacks are rare. Since 1950, there have been 101 great white shark attacks on humans off California — 13 of them resulted in deaths, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
It’s illegal to fish for great white sharks.
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