Swimmer survives great white shark bite

MARISA GERBER AND CARLOS LOZANO
Last updated 12:20 07/07/2014
LOUDLABS/Youtube.com

Laughter turns to alarm as fishermen realise that the great white shark had bitten a swimmer.

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A swimmer who was attacked by a shark near the Manhattan Beach Pier in California has described the incident as terrifying, saying “I felt the shark biting into me and I thought this is it.”

Steven Robles was out for a swim with about a dozen friends several hundred yards from shore when the attack occurred about 9.30am on Saturday.

“I saw it come real close to me and then it turned and lunged right at my chest,” Robles told CNN on Sunday. “I was in complete panic. I felt the shark biting into me and I thought this is it. Oh, my God, I’m going to die.”

He said he grabbed and punched the 2.1-metre juvenile great white shark’s nose and it swam away.

“I thought, I’m going to get this thing off me, and I grabbed his nose,” Robles said. “I was fortunate the shark bit into fat tissue and did not go into my organs.”

Fellow swimmer Nader Nejadhashemi said he didn't see the shark even though he was just 1.5m away, but heard the screams. 

"He said 'I've been bit', and he was screaming," said Nejadhashemi. "Then I saw the blood."

Nejadhashemi reached his friend and checked that "all his extremities were intact", then comforted him as others in the group flagged a nearby paddle boarder.

"I don't know how we managed to push him on the paddle board but we did," he said. Once several surfers came over to help pull the board in, Robles was on his way to the shore, where paramedics treated his wounds.

Robles suffered a single bite wound on the right side of his rib cage and was helped to shore by some surfers. He was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center for treatment.

“I still feel pretty shaken up,” he said. “It was pretty scary out there.”

Witnesses told authorities that 45 minutes earlier the shark bit a baited hook at the end of a fishing line thrown by a fisherman from the edge of the pier and was thrashing around in the water when it bit the swimmer.

“He was trying to get off the line,” said Captain. Tracy Lizotte, a Los Angeles County lifeguard at the beach. “He was agitated and was probably biting everything in his way, and then the swimmer swam right into the shark’s line.”

Lizotte said it’s not uncommon for sharks to swim in waters past the pier’s edge.

“That’s where they live,” Lizotte said. “It’s their home.”

VIDEO EMERGES

A video has emerged showing a shark attack that left a swimmer injured near the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The video, posted on by LoudLabs News on YouTube, shows the shark "jumping right on top" of the swimmer, as one of the people heard on the recording describes it. Onlookers scream at other swimmers to get out of the water and direct rescuers to the injured swimmer.

Aram Ozen, who was surfing near the end of the pier when the attack occurred, said some people thought the victim was having trouble swimming. Then Ozen heard people screaming, “White, white!” referring to a great white shark.

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“It was a scary scream,” Ozen said. “It was kind of freaky. There was a lot of people screaming back to shore.”

Ozen said other surfers started paddling out to help the victim back to shore as officials cleared everyone out of the water.

“I saw blood on his right rib,” he said. “He was a little bit in shock.”

-Los Angeles Times, with AP

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