One 50-year-old man's typical Saturday at the beach turned into a scene right out of Jaws!
Steven Robles was going for a swim in Southern California when he unexpectedly encountered a 7-foot great white shark. "I saw that shark just eyeball to eyeball, just like you and I, exactly the same distance, and it came in and bit me,'' Robles told Today in an interview airing Monday. "I grabbed its nose, and I started to pull it off me. I got lucky that it released itself."
Two beachgoers captured the confrontation on camera, and while the footage is blurry and shot from far away, it's quite clear that Robles put up a fight. "I used my hand to grab his nose, pried him off of me," he told local affiliate NBC4. "I mean, I thought that was it. For just a second I thought this was it, I was really scared."
A group of brave paddle-boarders made their way into the shark-infested waters to rescue Robles. "I saw him out there and I heard screaming," one of the rescuers, 19-year-old Justin Hoot, recalled. "People were leaving, and I thought, someone's got to get him."
Thankfully, Robles was able to get to shore safely. He spent eight hours in a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center emergency room being treated for chest lacerations and a punctured artery in his thumb, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
Some experts feel, however, that Robles' scare in the sea could have been prevented. Per Today, eyewitnesses said that fishermen on a nearby pier were chumming to attract fish and had been battling the great white for 40 minutes. And while the fisherman denied they were trying to land the shark, the injuries it sustained from their hooks might have been what triggered the response bite.
"Apparently the shark was very agitated, and I happened to be coming at that exact moment,'' Robles told Today. "I came very close to dying."
Despite this, though, Robles plans to get back in the water.
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