Hammerhead shark bites kayaker’s leg near Malibu


A hammerhead shark bit a kayaker in the leg off Deer Creek beach in Malibu on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

The kayaker was 1.5 miles offshore when a 10-foot hammerhead shark bit one of his lower legs about 2:30 p.m., said Lidia Barillas, public information officer with the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguards Division.

“It was a bite and release,” Barillas said. “Nothing severe but a very deep wound.”

A fisherman spotted the injured kayaker, brought him onto his boat and helped him control the bleeding, she said. The kayaker was carried closer to shore and paddled on his own to the shore, where he was met by Los Angeles and Ventura County firefighters.


The kayaker was airlifted to a local hospital.

LIfeguards helped escort two other kayakers back to shore as a safety precaution. No other injuries were reported.

Los Angeles County beaches remain open.

Last Saturday, Morro Strand State Beach was closed for several days after a great white shark bit a large chunk out of a woman’s surfboard. Elinor Dempsey, the surfer, was unharmed but shaken.

The same day as Dempsey’s brush with a great white, an 8- to 10-foot hammerhead was spotted off the coast of a La Jolla beach in San Diego, prompting officials to close a stretch of the beach for the day.

Though shark spottings have appeared to increase, the risk of being attacked by a shark has plunged.

Since 1950, the odds of being bitten by a white shark in waters off the California coast have dropped by 91%, according to an analysis by scientists from Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Swimmers, scuba divers and abalone divers all saw massive declines in the risk of a shark attack over the last 63 years.

“California oceangoers are safer today than at any other time since the 1950s,” the researchers wrote in a study to be published by the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


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