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Victim recounts Southern California shark attack

Shark Attacks California Swimmer. What Are The Odds?

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) - 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 when it attacked.

"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 towards me. It lunged at my chest, and it locked into my chest."

He tried to pry open the shark's mouth, but it quickly disappeared.

Robles was familiar with the waters of the Southern California coast. His Saturday morning routine included a swim from Hermosa Beach north to Manhattan Beach with fellow amateur distance swimmers, and last summer he completed a difficult swim approximately 20 miles from Santa Catalina Island to the Rancho Palos Verdes peninsula to raise money for a school in Nicaragua.

Robles had been going for 2 miles with about a dozen friends Saturday when the attack happened around 9:30 a.m., fellow swimmer Nader Nejadhashemi said Sunday.

"He said 'I've been bit,' and he was screaming," said Nejadhashemi, who didn't see the shark even though he was just 5 feet away. "Then I saw the blood."

Nejadhashemi reached his friend and checked that "all his extremities were intact," then comforted him as others in the group flagged a nearby paddle boarder.

"I don't know how we managed to push him on the paddle board but we did," he said. Once several surfers came over to help pull the board in, Robles was on his way to the shore, where paramedics treated his wounds.

He was taken to the hospital but by Sunday morning had been released. Robles did not return messages left Sunday at several numbers listed under his name.

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 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.

Shark sightings are on the rise at some Southern California beaches, especially in the waters off Manhattan Beach, which is a popular spot for surfers and paddle boarders. Large crowds were at the beach for the warm holiday weekend.

Shark attacks are rare. Since 1950, there have been 101 great white shark attacks on humans off California - 13 of them resulted in deaths, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Shark Bites Swimmer at California Beach

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Drillsgt1843 July 06 2014 at 5:28 PM

If you swim for miles in the ocean where sharks thrive, all you do is increase your risk of an attack. Can't blame the shark, who in this case was also agitated because some idiot fisherman hooked him and now the shark has to live out his days with a hook in its mouth. Its not a shark problem...like all else...its a people problem!

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10 replies
almasearch July 06 2014 at 5:40 PM

".... He tried to pry open the shark's mouth, but it quickly disappeared....."

What? The shark's mouth disappeared? Huh? C'mon people, I think a 3rd grader can write better than this.

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5 replies
Velocity105 July 06 2014 at 6:25 PM

Lucky it didn't kill you son. It was sending out a message to humanity: "Stop hunting and killing my cousins for their fins or next time I won't be so soft-hearted."

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3 replies
Kate July 06 2014 at 5:51 PM

He was very lucky, and I'm glad he's going to be okay. But I'm not going to blame the shark, which was obviously extremely upset by being hooked, and may have thought in some confused way that by attacking the man, he'd be able to get away, or punish him for having been the cause of its distress in the first place.

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1 reply
kingofswords72 Kate July 06 2014 at 8:59 PM

We, as humans, don't really know the extent of other specie's knowledge or intellect, but the only way your hypothetical situation could occur is if sharks had an intellectual capacity equaling humans. Sharks are fish, fish are determined to be one of the lowest classes of species on earth. Although most trout fishermen would disagree (myself included) scientists have determined that fish, as a general rule, have little more intellect than an earth worm, which ironically is one of their favorite foods. According to your viewpoint sharks have a higher intelligence. According to scientists they do not. Just personally, I think that ALL life on Earth has a higher intelligence, whether individually or collectively throughout an entire species, that encompasses far more reasoning ability than what scientists give it credit for. Ant and bee colony's collective "will of the swarm's" ideal to protect the colony at all cost is the perfect example. Are fish any less capable of that intelligence?

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1 reply
lafeef kingofswords72 July 07 2014 at 1:09 AM

Smoke another doobie.

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Mike July 06 2014 at 5:47 PM

Must have been a gay shark. 9:30am is brunch time.

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2 replies
Mr. Golf Mike July 06 2014 at 7:47 PM

Well Mike it was also California.

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reginatorw Mike July 06 2014 at 10:02 PM

Apparently mom forgot to shut off her computer before the immature kids got on.

Learning manners is not a difficult thing Mike, try it sometime.

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LL July 06 2014 at 5:48 PM

STUPID is as STUPID does, and anyone who is not SMART enough to wear black & white striped bathing suits is more likely to be a shark's focus, (based on a good deal of research that shows sharks are afraid of black & white striped POISONOUS snake fish, (that roam the ocean) and strangely enough strobe lights have been shown to cause sharks to even turn away at the point of attack, becasue they confuse them !

Sharks are "easy target" opportunists, and why they first bite, to see if there will be a fight or flight response, and if the latter - they come back in for the kill.

If you just MUST go for your ritual two mile swims, at least gain the edge....

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4 replies
ROBERT BOCK July 06 2014 at 6:51 PM

KILL THEM ALL

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3 replies
BILL July 07 2014 at 8:30 AM

He should have reallypurchased one of those black and white stripped anti shark wetsuits before he entered the water,they really do seem to work after watching the video.

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gogofmagog149 July 06 2014 at 8:04 PM

Was he swimming in from Mexico?

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leslie July 07 2014 at 7:16 AM

The shark spit him out because he tasted like a idiot!

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