GREEN

Great White Shark Attacks California Spear Fisherman Off Pebble Beach

The 25-year-old suffered major bite wounds to right thigh in "horrifying" encounter.

26/11/2017 08:03 SAST | Updated 27/11/2017 00:37 SAST

A man spear fishing with his father off Pebble Beach in California was attacked by a great white shark and suffered major bite wounds to his right thigh.

Grigor Azatian, 25, was helped ashore by two off-duty police officers who had been fishing nearby when the Friday afternoon attack occurred. They applied a tourniquet to his leg to stem “massive blood loss,” said a statement from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

A sheriff’s department helicopter flew overhead afterward and may have spotted the shadowy body of the 15-foot shark. Azatian and his father were fishing several hundred yards offshore, at Stillwater Cove in Monterey County, when Azatian was attacked. He was listed in stable condition on Saturday following surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

“There was a lot of blood,” beachgoer Chris Prestegard told CBS News. “It didn’t look good.”

“It was a shock for me,” Grigor’s father, Armen Azatian, told KSBW-8 TV. “It was a horrifying situation. My thought was just to try and help him to stop the bleeding.”

 The water was evacuated and warning signs posted.

Shark sightings are on the rise off the California coast. One reason may be elevated water temperatures caused by global warming — and more people in the water. The water isn’t getting cold enough to send the sharks farther south.

Unprovoked shark attacks worldwide hit a record 98 in 2015, according to reporting by the Florida Museum of Natural History. There were 84 such attacks in 2016.

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