Man Attacked by Shark Off Santa Barbara Island
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A scuba diver was attacked by a shark off Santa Barbara Island on Sunday and hospitalized in stable condition with bite wounds to his left forearm and right hand, authorities said.
The man was filming sharks and was outside a shark cage when he was attacked by a blue shark, Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Beals said. The name of the 46-year-old man was withheld pending notification of relatives.
Coast Guard spokesman Tim Rowe said the man was attacked while diving 10 miles northwest of the island, about 40 miles southwest of Los Angeles, and was airlifted from a diving vessel to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.
The diver was in stable condition, nursing supervisor Peggy Kiyuna said, refusing to provide any details.
A Coast Guard official who refused to give his name said the Coast Guard station in Ventura received an emergency call from the dive boat about 11 a.m. Dave Delano, operations manager of the Village Harbor Marina where the 60-foot boat is based, said Coast Guard officials apparently talked the boat’s crew by radio into stanching the diver’s blood loss. ″I heard that they could not stop the bleeding and had to use a tourniquet,″ Delano said.
Delano said the vessel, The Scuba Lover, frequently went on shark-observing expeditions and had a shark cage on board this trip.
″Normally, The Scuba Lover runs what they call Blue Sharks Expeditions. It’s a beautiful shark but not usually dangerous,″ Delano said.
Beals said the attack was ″very uncommon″ for the Southern California coast. He had no details on why the diver was outside the cage.
In January, a young couple kayaking off Malibu were apparently killed by a marauding shark, possibly a great white.
Sailors found the shark-mauled body of Tamara McCallister, 24, floating six miles off Channel Island Harbor, about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Her companion, Roy Jeffrey Stoddard, 24, was never found.
Such attacks are extremely rare in Southern California. The last fatal attack in the state was in September 1984 when an abalone diver was mauled 40 miles south of San Francisco.
Only six fatal shark attacks were reported between 1926 and 1984 and in five of those deaths the attack was blamed on a great white shark.