A man was left with a serious arm injury after being attacked by a sea lion while swimming in San Francisco Bay. Officials say the incident happened in the Aquatic Park area on Thursday afternoon.
A member of the police marine unit told Fox News that the man saw the animal come up to him and he attempted to splash water on it. He then yelled at the animal and it came up and bit him on the arm. The man was lucky as people on a nearby boat saw what was happening and quickly moved to rescue him.
The man was rescued by the boat and people called the coast guard. He was taken to the hospital with what emergency teams said was a serious extremity injury. The San Francisco Fire Department tweeted shortly after the incident that one subject had been pulled out of the water with a reported sea lion bite extremity injury.
The member of the police marine unit told local media that the boat saved his life. He added that if it hadn’t been there, who knows what would have happened. The incident is just one of few reported in the area in recent years.
Sea lion attacks in the area are rare but experts warn that swimmers should stay away from the animals. Dr. Claire Simeon, a veterinarian working with the Marine Mammal Center, told local media that swimmers had reported ten incidents in the area in the last three years. Longtime swimmers in the area also say that sea lion attacks are something that rarely happens. George Howell, a longtime swimmer in the area, said he had never heard of anybody going to the hospital or getting stitches.
The veterinarian mentioned that the incidents were not from swimmers provoking the animals. She added that people can still go swimming in the area as long as they maintain a distance from the animals.
Earlier this year, tourists in British Columbia suffered a scare when a sea lion jumped from the water, grabbed a girl that was standing near the edge of the dock and dragged her into the water. The girl was rescued by a man who jumped in the water immediately after. They did not suffer any injuries. The people at the dock had been feeding the animal before it surfaced to drag the girl into the water.