Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Video: Footage Of The Manhattan Beach Shark Attack, Swimmer 'Thought This Was It'

We need to hear from you.
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

A video of the shark attack that left a swimmer injured yesterday shows the panic that it caused among those at Manhattan Beach enjoying the holiday weekend. Steven Robles, the swimmer bitten by the shark, is expected to recover.

Editor's Note: Due to some confusion by readers, it should be pointed out that the people who shot the video and/or can be heard on the video have not been linked to the fisherman who hooked the shark.

The video, uploaded to YouTube by LoudLabs, was shot by visitors on the Manhattan Beach pier watching a group of swimmers go by. The voices heard on the video seem to be aware that the swimmers would cross paths with the shark, and end up laughing when the shark has its close encounter with Robles.

Support for LAist comes from

"He fuckin' jumped right on top of him. Right on top of him!" says a male voice, as if he was watching a quarterback get taken out by a linebacker. In the video the attack can be seen, but only as splashes from a distance.

The tenor changes moments later when screams can be heard from afar and they realize that a swimmer had been bitten. A group of swimmers with Robles and a paddleboarder begin to pull him ashore the people on the pier warn swimmers closer to the pier to get out of the water.

Robles, a 40 year-old real estate broker from Lomita, is an experienced long-distance swimmer who was doing his regular Saturday swim from the Hermosa Beach pier to the Manhattan Beach pier when he was attacked by the 7-foot great white. "Because I'm a strong swimmer, I was able to sustain myself in the water while this injury was going on," Robles told KCAL.

"I had no time to react, it just happened so quick," he told NBC 4 of the attack. "I used my hand to grab his nose, pried him off me... For just a second I thought this was it. I was really scared." Robles spent 8 hours in the emergency room at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, but has since been released. He suffered chest lacerations from the bite on his right side, and a broken artery in his right thumb.

Even though shark sightings are common off Manhattan Beach, shark attacks in California are extremely rare and that Robles' attack was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The shark had been hooked by a fisherman on the pier, and was struggling to free itself from the line for over a half hour when Robles swam right into it. "He was agitated and was probably biting everything in his way and then the swimmer swam right into the shark's line," lifeguard captain Tracy Lizotte told the LA Times. In California, it is illegal to fish for great white sharks. However the fisherman, who declined to be identified, told NBC that he and his friends were fishing for bat rays when they accidentally caught the young shark.

According to state law, a fishing line must be immediately cut if a great white shark is caught. However, the fisherman says he didn't immediately cut the line out of concern for the safety of people in the water. "He was fifteen feet away from a surfer. If we cut our line, he's free to go after whoever he wants in the water."

As for his thoughts on Robles, the fisherman told KTLA: "We are highly concerned about you—deeply, deeply concerned, deeply saddened, and hoping that you make a full recovery as soon as possible."

After the attack, lifeguards temporarily closed off the beach while they tried to chase the shark off into deeper waters. The beach reopened later that afternoon. As a precaution, Manhattan Beach police have closed the pier to fishing until Tuesday.

Despite his near-death experience, Robles says he will swim in the ocean again. He also wanted to know the identity of the paddleboarder who put him on his board and helped him get to shore. He wanted to thank him for saving his life.

Most Read