Two men carry a swimmer, second from right, after he was bitten by a great white shark, as lifeguards close in at left in the ocean off Southern California’s Manhattan Beach on Saturday. Photo by: AP Photo/goofyfootphotography.com, Laura Joyce
July 7, 2014 10:20:31 AM
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- Steven Robles was an hour into his regular weekend swim off some of Southern California's most popular beaches when he came face-to-face with a great white shark.
The 7-foot-long juvenile had been trying to free itself from a fisherman's hook for about half an hour.
"It came up to the surface, it looked at me and attacked me right on the side of my chest," Robles told KABC-TV. "That all happened within two seconds, I saw the eyes of the shark as I was seeing it swim toward me. It lunged at my chest, and it locked into my chest."
As a reflex, he tried to pry open the shark's mouth.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, this is it. Oh my God, I'm going to die. This is really, this is it,'" Robles told CNN.
And then, just as quickly as it struck, the shark let go and swam away.
The shark remained in the area for about 20 minutes and then disappeared into the murky water, said Rick Flores, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman. The beaches -- crowded for the warm holiday weekend -- remained open, but a mile-long stretch was temporarily off-limits to swimmers. Police also prohibited fishing from the pier where the fisherman hooked the shark until Tuesday.
It's illegal to fish for great white sharks. The fisherman told several local media that he was trying to catch a bat ray, not a shark, and that he didn't cut the line sooner because of how many swimmers were in the water. It wasn't immediately clear whether the wildlife officials were investigating; a department spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.
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