'I was staring at this shark eyeball to eyeball'

Victim recounts Southern California shark attack

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. - A long-distance runner who was attacked by a great white shark off a Southern California beach is describing how quickly a routine swim turned into a bloody nightmare.
 
Steven Robles was in the water off Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles when the 7-foot-long juvenile shark suddenly appeared Saturday morning.
 
He told KABC-TV that the shark looked at him and "locked into my chest."

“Right when it bit right into my chest, you could just hear everything crunch,” Robles said. “I was staring at this shark eyeball to eyeball.  Literally, like right here. It was the most frightening thing I could ever – anyone - could ever experience.  It’s biting your chest and you’re staring at it looking eye to eye, with this thing on your chest.”

Robles was taken to shore and by Sunday morning had been released from the hospital.
 
Witnesses said the shark had been hooked by a fisherman on a nearby pier and was thrashing in the water for more than 30 minutes before biting Robles about 300 yards off shore.
 
“The fisherman, in the course of battling the shark, caused the shark to swim in the direction of the swimmers,” Ralph Collier, a great white expert who has been studying white sharks since the 1960s, told 10News.  He’s also the author of “Shark Attacks of the 20th Century.”

“The two paths of swimmers and the shark’s path simply met. And when the shark bumped into the individual, fighting against the hook and survival instinct, it simply bit the individual as a response to what it felt was another provocative action.”

Robles does not blame the shark, he blames the fisherman who hooked the shark and got it mad. Collier agrees.

“When you realize what you have on your line, at that point it is your job to simply cut the line and let the animal go,” Collier added.

According to Collier and the Shark Research Committee, from 1900 to 1999 there were 108 unprovoked shark attacks along the Pacific Coast. From 2000 to 2014, there have been 64 unprovoked shark attacks in California alone.

From 1950 to 1999, there were eight fatalities from sharks. From 2000 to 2014, there have been five.

“I have swam in that ocean my entire life, and nothing close to this has ever happened,” added Robles.

The beach, crowded over the holiday weekend, was eventually reopened.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments