Swimmer miraculously survives attack by great white shark

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Long-distance swimmer Steven Robles said he was unsure if he would return to his sport after he was bit Saturday, July 5, 2014, by a great white shark near the Manhattan Beach Pier. 

A fisherman had hooked the shark and had spent about 40 minutes trying to reel it in when the the agitated animal attacked.  Robles, 50, was one of 15 swimmers training for a September swimming event when the 7-foot shark bit his hand and torso area, according to our sister station KTLA. 

“It’s called a provoked attack, which means the shark was angry and it wanted to get away. The shark did not come up and purposefully attack somebody,” director of Roundhouse Aquarium on the pier and witness to the incident Erin Martin said.

Robles said he also injured his right hand as he tried to fight off the shark.

“At that point, when I felt that crunch going right into my chest — that was it. I thought, ‘Oh, my God,'” he said. “I grabbed his nose … and started pushing him, trying to pry him off of my chest. He released himself and swam away immediately. I never saw him again.”

The attack was a rare occurrence, Robles said, but he was still shocked and frustrated by the fisherman’s actions.

The fisherman, who asked not to be identified, described the incident in an interview.

“The rules and regulations are, when a great white is hooked, as soon as you can identify it you’re supposed to cut your line,” he said.

Officials closed the beach to swimmers for several hours following the attack and “coaxed” the juvenile shark back into deeper waters, according to a L.A. County Sheriff’s Department news release.  Local authorities also halted fishing in the area until Tuesday, July 8.