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Fisherman Who Caught Shark That Bit Swimmer: There Was "Nothing We Could Do"

"The shark was headed straight for the swimmers," the fisherman said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A fisherman says he and two friends were hoping to catch and release bat rays and tiger sharks off the coast of Manhattan Beach on Saturday when instead they hooked a juvenile white shark. Kate Larsen reports from Whittier for the NBC4 News at 6 on Saturday, July 5, 2014.

    A fisherman says he and two friends couldn't do anything to prevent a swimmer from being bitten by a white shark that the group had on a fishing line for about 30 minutes off the coast of off a Southern California beach on Saturday morning.

    The fisherman, who identified himself only as Jason, said they were hoping to catch and release bat rays and tiger sharks by throwing bait into the water from the Manhattan Beach Pier. Instead, they hooked a juvenile shark and kept it on the fishing line with swimmers and surfers nearby.

    "At this time the shark was headed straight for the swimmers, there was nothing we could do," Jason said.

    "We were trying to pull him further away, and at that minute we'd seen the shark jump and it looked like he landed on the guy," he added.

    The 50-year-old victim was bitten under his arm as the agitated shark tried to bite through the line.

    That's when Jason's friend cut the line after holding onto the shark for half an hour.

    "We didn't see what it was until the water was shallow enough that we could actually see what it was, and that was maybe 15 minutes into it," Jason said.

    It's against California law to fish for great white sharks. Fishermen who catch one must cut it loose once it's been identified.

    The fisherman said he didn't cut the line right away because the shark was "15 feet away from a surfer. If he's not on our line and we cut our line, he's free to go after whoever he wants inside the water."

    The swimmer was taken to the hospital and was expected to survive.

    Manhattan Beach police said fishing will not be allowed on the pier until Tuesday, July 8.