A 7-foot great white shark that bit a swimmer near the Manhattan Beach Pier outside Los Angeles had been hooked by a fisherman earlier Saturday, a lifeguard said.
Los Angeles County lifeguard Capt. Tracy Lizotte said the shark became increasingly agitated as it tried to get off the line. “He was agitated and was probably biting everything in his way and then the swimmer swam right into the shark’s line,” Lizotte told the Los Angeles Times.
Witnesses said the shark was on the line for about 45 minutes and the fisherman immediately cut the line after he saw the swimmer was bitten.
The victim was described as a long-distance swimmer, 35 to 40 years old. He was bitten on the right side and taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, the L.A. Times said. (See News 10 video of the attack on YouTube here.)
Lifeguards barred swimming for a one-mile stretch following the attack, Reuters reported.
The L.A. Times reported the number of great white shark sightings in South California is on the rise, although the creatures generally avoid humans.
The Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida reported there were 72 unprovoked shark attacks around the world last year, 47 of them in the U.S. and just one in California. About one-half of those bitten were surfers.
The last fatal shark attack in California was near Lompoc in 2012. A 39-year-old surfer was bitten by a 16-foot shark, suffering a large wound to his torso.
Saturday’s bite victim was in stable condition, fire department officials said.