Reggie Kumar, Beth Slepp-Paz, Azucena Varela
A white shark that was hooked to a line bit a swimmer who apparently came to close as the shark struggled to free itself. Reggie Kumar reports from Manhattan Beach for the NBC4 News at 6 on Saturday, July 5, 2014
A long-distance swimmer was in stable condition after being bitten by a white shark near Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday.
The 7-foot juvenile shark bit the 50-year-old man about 9:30 a.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. The incident took place several hundred yards from the pier near a buoy.
Officials said the shark was hooked to a fisherman's line and the swimmer got too close. The swimmer was injured when the shark tried to bite through the line and ended up biting him under his arm.
Witnesses said the shark, which will become what is commonly known as a great white once it matures, appeared agitated prior to biting the swimmer, fire officials said. It continued to follow the victim after the bite.
A lifeguard placed the victim on a rescue paddle board and several people rushed to help bring the victim out of the water.
"He was laying on it holding his chest," said witness Justin Hoot. "He had some large lacerations on his side muscle showing."
"A lot of screaming and yelling," said another witness. "It was horrible. I couldn’t even watch it."
The Manhattan Beach Fire Department, who also were called to the scene, took the victim to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The swimmer was awake and talking to paramedics. He was expected to survive.
"It wasn't a full-size bite," said Capt. Tracy Lizotte of the LACFD. "It didn't seem to be a large bite."
Some witnesses said a group of three fishermen attracted the shark by throwing bait into the water. The fishermen were questioned, but were not cited.
A fisherman who was with the group that hooked the shark said they were looking to catch and release bat rays and tiger sharks. He said they kept the shark on the fishing line because they did not want to release it near people in the water.
As a precaution, officials closed the beach for several hours about 1 mile north and south of the Manhattan Beach Pier. It was reopened about 3 p.m.
Manhattan Beach police said fishing will not be allowed on the pier until Tuesday, July 8.
Shark sightings off the coast of Manhattan Beach have become a daily occurrence, officials said.