MANHATTAN BEACH (AP) – A 7-foot-long great white shark bit a man swimming off Southern California’s Manhattan Beach on Saturday, officials said.
The man was bitten on the upper right side about 9:30 a.m., suffering puncture wounds described as moderate injuries, said Rick Flores, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman. The man was taken to a hospital conscious and breathing on his own, Flores said.
The attack started when a person fishing off the Manhattan Beach Pier hooked the shark and spent over 30 minutes trying to reel it in, which, Flores said, made the shark grow agitated and take out more and more fishing line.
The victim was in a group of long-distance swimmers about 300 yards off the beach swimming past the pier, where Flores said the shark bit the man.
The fisherman cut the line, and a surfer put the injured swimmer on his board, taking the victim ashore with the help of Los Angeles County lifeguards. Paramedics began treating the man.
The victim’s identity was not released, but Flores described him as a middle-aged man.
The shark remained in the area for the next 20 minutes and then disappeared into the murky water, Flores said. Sharks – including great whites – are common in the area, but attacks are extremely rare, he said.
“There’s a sighting almost on a daily basis out here,” said Flores, who preferred to describe the incident as a “bite” rather than “attack” because the shark had been agitated by being hooked.
The beaches remained open, but a mile-long stretch was temporarily off-limits to swimmers, Flores said. Lifeguards patrolled in boats to make sure the water was clear, he said.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.