A group of Venice Beach surfers came to the rescue of a baby great white shark that had washed ashore near the Venice Pier on Saturday morning.
A fisherman had realized that a shark had hooked onto his line. He and several other fishermen ran down to the beach to pull the shark from the water.
Elvia Van Es, a Venice Beach resident, caught the incident on her camera phone, and posted it on YouTube (warning: contains graphic language).
"Everyone was terrified…This guy in the yellow shorts came out of nowhere," said Van Es. "People started screaming. Guys were yelling, 'shark. It’s a shark. He caught a shark.'"
The man in the yellow shorts, known to locals as Willy, approached the shark and struggled to remove the hook from its mouth.
"The poor shark was bleeding. It was nerve racking," said Van Es.
Peter Wallerstein from the group Marine Animal Rescue said it was a heroic act, but probably not the safest thing to do.
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"Anytime you're around the mouth of any shark, it's a very dangerous situation," said Wallerstein. "They could have lost their hand, trying to do what they did."
After the hook was dislodged, Willy and three other men helped drag the shark back into the ocean.
"I wanted to give him the video," said Van Es. "I wanted to tell him, 'You’re amazing. You’re such a hero. I don't have your contact information.'"
Van Es said that’s when Willy got shy and disappeared.
When she approached lifeguards to tell them of what had just happened, Van Es said they weren’t surprised to learn who had saved the day.
"Oh yeah, that’s Willy," said a lifeguard on duty. "We call him the ‘Animal Whisperer.'"
Warning: Video contains graphic language: