Shark bites top of kayaker's foot in waters off California coast

A kayaker was bitten by a shark in the waters off the California coast and was taken to the hospital with cuts to the top of his foot, authorities said on Saturday.

Ventura County Fire Capt. Ron Oatman said the kayaker, who was fishing with a friend in Malibu, reported that he was dangling his feet in the water when a shark came up, bumped against or bit his foot before swimming away.

Ventura County officials told Fox 11 Los Angeles the shark was a 10-foot hammerhead.

Lidia Barillas, public information officer with the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Lifeguards Division told the Los Angeles Times the bite was "nothing severe, but a very deep wound."

"It was a bite and release," she said.

The wounded kayaker was able to flag down a fishing boat that was nearby and got onboard, where he was able to control the bleeding. He was then airlifted back to a local hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Oatman said lifeguards paddled to the boat and accompanied the man back to shore. Los Angeles County Lifeguards have said none of the beaches they patrol will be closed.

The shark encounter occurred about a mile off the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Deer Creek Road.

Last Saturday, Morro Strand State Beach was closed for three days after a great white shark took a bit out of a surfer’s board. Elinor Dempsey was surfing in the morning when the shark took a 14-inch wide bite out of the surfboard she was paddling on.

“First I thought it was a dolphin and I thought, ‘What the hell is he doing?’” Dempsey told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. “And he kind of landed on my board. Then I realized he had taken a chunk. And I was, like, that’s not what dolphins do.”

Officials closed the beach for 72 hours and posted warning signs at nearby beaches.

The odds of being bit by a great white shark in the waters off the California coastline have dropped by 91 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing analysis from Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Swimmers and divers alike have all seen declines in shark attacks over the last 63 years.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.