Shark attack victim hit him in the face before being rescued, friend says

A man who survived multiple shark bites while swimming at a popular California beach on Sunday punched the predator on the nose before other fast swimmers saved him, an eyewitness said.

The 46-year-old man was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla with bite wounds to his left hand, left arm and torso around 9 a.m. Sunday in the town of Del Mar, north of San Diego, he said in a press release. .

The injuries are serious but not life-threatening, the statement said. Almost the entire beach was closed after the attack.

The victim is part of a seasoned group of sea swimmers who train every week. One of the group, Jenna Veal, who was directly behind the man in the water during the attack, told NBC’s “TODAY” show Monday that she heard him yelling at ugly.

“He hit him in the face. He hit him in the nose,” she said. “I know he had a gash on his hand from a shark tooth.”

Swimmers quickly began pulling the man back to shore, where a passing emergency room doctor stopped to help him.

“There is a massive outpouring of support from everyone today,” Veal said. The man remained conscious throughout, she said, and is expected to be OK.

Photos shared by Veal show the man, still in his swimming cap, lying on a stretcher and being treated by paramedics as worried swimmers look on.

Another eyewitness told “TODAY”: “When we saw the guy swim back, it was really shocking. »

Jon Edelbrock, the city’s chief lifeguard, told “TODAY” that one of the swimmers was equipped with a tourniquet, although it’s unclear whether it was used.

The attack closed beaches within a mile radius, shocking many local beachgoers. “I never saw any sign of a shark or knew anything was happening here,” one told “TODAY.”

The risk of unprovoked shark bites worldwide remains extremely low.

Experts say the best way for swimmers to reduce their risks is to always stay in groups. Use extreme caution in areas near sandbars and steep drop-offs and avoid being in water during dark hours or at dusk.

Unprovoked shark attacks are rare: There were only 36 in the United States last year, including two in California, one of which was fatal, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.

The beach will remain closed at least until Tuesday.

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