Great white shark attacks swimmer off California coast

BY Elisabeth Ponsot  July 5, 2014 at 5:03 PM EDT

A great white shark apparently agitated by a fisher who tried to reel it in, bit a man swimming in Southern California on Saturday.

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A great white shark is shown in Mexico in 2006. Officials said Saturday that a man was attacked by a great white off the coast of California and had suffered “moderate injuries.” Credit: Terry Goss via Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Rick Flores told the Associated Press that the man was bitten on the upper right side of his body and had suffered puncture wounds. The victim was taken to the hospital with what were described as “moderate injuries.”

The 7-foot-long shark attacked the victim, who was in a group of long-distance swimmers, about 300 yards off Manhattan Beach.

Flores said the shark remained in the area for about 20 minutes after the victim was rescued, and then disappeared.

While shark attacks are rare, two studies on sharks released in June reveal the populations of great whites in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are on the rise.

A study published by the Florida Program for Shark Research estimates there are about 2,000 great whites swimming off the coast of central California.