VIA – HERMOSA PATCH
Originally posted at 10:11 a.m. July 5, 2014. Edited with new details.
A 7-foot-long shark attacked a swimmer Saturday at Manhattan Beach, causing serious injury and prompting authorities to use helicopters and boats to evacuate throngs of people taking to the water on a busy 4th of July holiday weekend.
The incident happened about 9:30 Saturday morning, said photographer Eric Hartman, who saw the victim carried from a lifeguard vehicle on a backboard into an ambulance near the first lifeguard station south of the Manhattan Pier.
A police lieutenant with the Manhattan Beach Police Department said officers were dispatched to the scene at 9:29 a.m. for a report of “an ocean rescue, male in the water.”
The shark bit the man in his upper right torso, said County Fire Inspector Rick Flores. He told The Associated Press that the victim suffered puncture wounds and that the swimmer, part of a group in the water for training, was taken to a hospital conscious and breathing on his own.
The shark had been “hooked” by a fisherman roughly 40 minutes before the attack, Flores told the news service. He said the fisherman cut the line when the swimmer was bit and that a surfer loaded him on his board and brought him ashore with the help of lifeguards.
Shortly after the attack, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s helicopter hovered above lifeguard boats warning swimmers to get out of the water.
Authorities closed a two-mile swath of water along the beach, one mile on each side of the Manhattan Beach pier, the focal point of an area sandwiched between El Segundo, and Hermosa Beach and popular with volleyballers and surfers.
The helicopter crew later spotted the shark about 200 feet north of the pier.
“The deputies directed a lifeguard boat and a Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol boat to the shark,” LASD said in a statement. “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.”
Witness Aram Ozen told The Los Angeles Times he was surfing near the pier when a man swimming with a group was attacked about 50 or 60 feet from shore.
People initially thought the victim was having trouble swimming and then he suddenly heard a couple of people screaming, “White, white!” referring to a great white shark, he told the paper.
“It was a scary scream,” Ozen said. “It was kind of freaky. There was a lot people screaming back to shore.”
Patch reader Scott Valor confirmed reports that the shark was originally caught on a fishing line and was reacting.
“I was there. The shark was 6-7 feet. A fisherman who regularly tries to catch sharks had it on the line for 45 minutes … and the shark was panicking. The swimmer just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Valor wrote in the comments section.
It is legal to fish for many species of shark in California waters, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Times reported that a great white shark was spotted swimming near paddle boarders in Manhattan Beach last month and that a great white shark was also spotted recently chasing a sea lion along LeadBetter Beach in Santa Barbara, closing that beach.
A shark sighting in Manhattan Beach last year prompted authorities to close El Porto Beach when it was spotted swimming about 15 feet from a surfer, the paper reported.
City News Service contributed to this report.
Patch will have more details as they become available.
If you have a product or service that is a good fit for our surf community, we have opportunities for you to sponsor this blog! Download our media kit now!