A swimmer was bitten by a 7- to 8-foot great white shark off Manhattan Beach today, and a stand-up paddleboarder says he captured the creature on video (on the next page) after the attack.
The 40-year-old male victim, who was in the water with a group of other distance swimmers near Manhattan Beach Pier when he was attacked, did not sustain life-threatening wounds, said Inspector Rick Flores of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Officials believe the shark attacked after it was hooked by a pier-based fisherman and became "agitated," he said:
It happened about 9:30 a.m., Flores said. The shark bit the man in his upper-right torso but the creature did not penetrate his ribs, he said. The man was breathing and talking after he was pulled from the water by lifeguards on paddleboards, he said.
Flores estimated the shark measured about 7 to 8 feet in length. Other officials said it was more like 10-feet long.
Manhattan Beach Fire Department paramedics treated the victim on the sand and then had him transported to a hospital, Flores said. He called the swimmer's injuries "moderate," but he was unsure of his official condition.
The shark, believed to be a juvenile because of its relatively small size, had been hooked on a fishing line for 30 to 40 minutes prior to the attack, Flores told us. It went further out to sea during that time, he said.
The fisherman was not cited. A 1-mile stretch of water was closed as a precaution until 2 p.m., Flores said.
An L.A. County Sheriff's Department helicopter crew helped to chase the shark into deeper waters. According to a sheriff's statement:
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Sheriff’s Helicopter 8, a patrol helicopter with a flight crew consisting of a deputy pilot and a tactical flight deputy, located a ten-foot Great White shark approximately 200 yards north of the Manhattan Beach pier. The deputies directed a lifeguard boat and a Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol boat to the shark. A paddle boarder was directed away from the shark by the boat crews.
After approximately 30 minutes, the boats were able to coax the shark out to deeper water and away from the pier.
Sharks have become a common feature in the waters off Manhattan Beach in recent years. But experts say they're not aggressive and usually only attack when they feel threatened.