A swimmer who was bitten by a shark off the coast of Manhattan Beach was reunited with one of his rescuers Sunday.
Steve Robles, 50, of Lomita was swimming near the Manhattan Beach Pier about 9:30 a.m. Saturday when a 7-foot juvenile white shark bit him as it tried to escape from a fisherman’s hook.
Robles made in back to shore safely with the help of Justin Hoot, 19, who was working at a nearby surfboard rental tent at the time of the attack. Hoot said he grabbed one of the boards from the tent and headed out to try and save the swimmer.
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“By the time we had gotten you onto a soft-top surfboard, there were probably six of us pushing you in,” Hoot said.
Robles said he thought he was going to die as the shark lunged at him.
“I’m so fortunate that you were nearby,” Robles said to Hoot.
Robles spent eight hours in a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center emergency room being treated for chest lacerations and a punctured artery in his thumb.
“When it bit me I could feel its whole body vibrating on me, his whole body was shaking and I could feel it as it went into to my skin,” he said. “I grabbed its nose and I started to pull it off of me, I got lucky that it released itself.”
Robles said he is upset with the fisherman who hooked the shark and kept it on the line for about 30 minutes before it bit him.
A fisherman who was with the group that hooked the shark said they kept the shark on the fishing line because they did not want to release it near people in the water.
It's against California law to fish for great white sharks. Fishermen who catch one must cut it loose once they identify it.
Lifeguards said it had been more than a century since someone has been attacked by a shark in Los Angeles County.
Robles, a dedicated long distance swimmer, said he will return to the ocean.