A surfer was hospitalized in stable condition Thursday night after being bitten on the hand by a shark off Melbourne Beach, Fla.

The 28-year-old man was bitten around 7:30pm while paddling out into the surf about 50 feet (15m) off the beach -- roughly 100 miles (160km) south of Daytona Beach -- Brevard County Fire-Rescue Lt. Jeff Taylor told Florida Today.

When the man looked down to see what had bitten him he saw a shark he estimated was around five feet (1.5m) long.

The man attempted to drive to himself to hospital, but pulled over at a local restaurant and called 911. Emergency officials transported him to the Holmes Regional Medical Center in stable condition.

His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

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