MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A male swimmer was attacked by a Great White Shark Saturday off Manhattan Beach.
After being initially reported in critical condition, Steven Robles, 50, is now in stable condition at UCLA Harbor Medical Center, authorities said.
While lifeguards estimated the shark to be 7-feet long, LA County Sheriff’s flying overhead in Sheriff’s Helicopter 8 said they believed the creature was 10-feet long.
Robles was bitten just before 9:30 a.m. near the Manhattan Beach Pier, authorities said.
A video was captured, in which a man can seemingly be heard yelling at swimmers to get out of the water, following the attack. In the video, the man can be heard shouting, “It already bit someone!”
Lifeguards treated Robles for lacerations and puncture wounds on the beach.
“We had pulled the victim into the beach, and we were doing treatment, and then the line was cut to the shark and the shark swam away,” LA City Lifeguard Capt. Tracy Lizotte said.
Robles was reportedly with a group of 15 swimmers, who swim every Saturday morning from Hermosa Beach Pier to Manhattan Beach Pier. The group was preparing for an upcoming International Swim Meet.
Robles says he credits his survival to God and his quick thinking to punch the shark in the nose, which is a maneuver recommended to swimmers who experience a shark attack.
Robles had recently swam to raise funds for his church in Hermosa Beach.
A two-mile stretch of beach was closed following the attack. Firefighters were dispatched at 9:33 a.m. to 1011 The Strand.
Eric Hartman of the Manhattan Beach Patch posted photos of Robles being loaded into an ambulance following the 9:20 a.m. incident.
A sheriff’s helicopter was quickly overhead ordering swimmers and surfers out of the water, according to the Hermosa Beach Patch.
The shark was caught in a fisherman’s net — about 40 minutes before the attack — and fighting for its life when it took a bite on the passing swimmer.
“When it first took off, it felt like a Bat Ray,” the fisherman, identified only as Jason, said. “It took off south towards Hermosa, and it stayed low. By the time we realized what it was, it was a hundred yards off shore.”
The fisherman reported that he was threatened by surfers following the attack.
The fisherman, meanwhile, says that he believes he did nothing wrong.
“At this time, we had a chance to either cut our line so close to the swimmers, or we could yell and scream and get everybody out of there, and try to get him away from the swimmers and give them time to get freed before we actually cut the line.”
The shark bit Robles in the upper right torso.
LA County Sheriff’s said they were able to coax to shark out to deeper water and away from swimmers.
A little after 2 p.m., lifeguards gave swimmers the okay to return to the water.
Robles’ wife released a statement:
“At approximately 9:30 a.m. this morning, while swimming with a group near Manhattan Beach Pier, my husband Steven Robles sustained significant injury to his torso and right hand by a Great White shark, 7-8 feet in length.”
Robles’ wife went on to note that the fisherman had reportedly “stated to several bystanders that he had been chumming in the water.”
The fisherman, meanwhile, claims that he was not chumming, and that he was using only a small sardine as bait with the intention of hooking a Bat Ray.
“For what we fish for, there’s no need to chum,” the fisherman said. “The fish are already there, they’re not attracted to blood. The fisher that we’re fishing for have nothing to do with it.”
Police state that the fisherman had done nothing illegal, but that all fishing from the Manhattan Beach pier is suspended until July 8.