KEY POINTS

  • A shark of unknown size bumped against the boat while the boy was kayaking
  • The boy reached his hand into the water and was bitten by the shark
  • Lifeguard crew closed the area for 24 hours

A teenager, who was part of a Boy Scouts camp, was bitten by a shark Wednesday while kayaking off Santa Catalina Island in Southern California. 

The 15-year-old boy was with his father when he sustained a hand injury from the shark bite, Los Angeles County Lifeguard Paramedic Rescue Boat Crews tweeted. The paramedics responded to the incident at around 7.15 a.m. (10.15 a.m. ET) near Parson's landing. 

While kayaking, the pair’s boat was bumped by what officials think was a shark. The species or the size of the shark was not known. "During the encounter, the patient reached their hand into the water and was bit by the animal," stated the LA County Fire Department’s office in a tweet.

The victim received first aid from onsite doctors and paramedics, and was later airlifted to a hospital, media outlet KABC reported. The unidentified boy had to undergo a surgery, and was in a stable condition, said paramedics.

Boy Scouts officials confirmed a youth participant at their camp in Emerald Bay sustained a non-life-threatening bite injury while kayaking. According to the group, a boat is sent out every morning to check for hazards before participants are allowed to enter the water. During Wednesday’s check, they had found no hazard. The camp removed the participants from the water following the incident and canceled all water activities since, Associated Press reported.

"Our thoughts are with this young man and his family, and we will continue to support them in any way we can," the Boy Scouts said, ABC News reported.

After the incident, the lifeguard crew cleared one mile of the ocean in each direction of the scene, and closed the area for 24 hours. Adjacent lifeguard agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Coast guard were notified about the incident as per protocol.
 
"Catalina, even though it's 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, is still technically close enough that white sharks easily range between there and the mainland," KABC quoted shark expert Chris Lowe as saying. "Typically we see adults and some large juveniles out at Catalina, we don't see a lot of babies out there."

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