A California shark attack victim who was chewed on by a great white during a swim near Manhattan Beach over the weekend said he's lucky to be alive after the predator latched on to his rib cage.
Steven Robles, a 50-year-old real estate broker and long-distance swimmer, is recovering at home from the Saturday attack after being released from the UCLA Medical Center, according to KTLA-TV.
"He just swam right at me and when he lunged into my chest, I could feel his whole body vibrating," Robles told People magazine
. "It happened so quick. I was very scared. It was burning pain . . . I was staring at this shark eyeball-to-eyeball with its teeth on the side of my rib cage."
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Robles, who was out for a swim from Hermosa to Manhattan Beach, told People that his "pure instinct" kicked in as he battled to get away from the 7-foot shark.
"At that point, when I felt that crunch going right into my chest — that was it," he told KTLA-TV. "I thought, 'Oh, my God.' I grabbed his nose . . . and started pushing him, trying to pry him off of my chest. He released himself and swam away immediately. I never saw him again."
Robles told People that he has been swimming the southern California shoreline "his entire life" without incident.
"Fortunately, the bite didn't go into any organs and I didn't crack any ribs," he said. "I'm very thankful I'm alive. This absolutely could have been it. I was given a second chance, and this is day one of a new life."
There's been some controversy surrounding the shark attack, according to KTLA-TV, which reported that an area fisherman hooked the shark and had been attempting to reel it in for about 40 minutes when the agitated animal bit Robles.
"It's called a provoked attack, which means the shark was angry and it wanted to get away," Erin Martin, director of Roundhouse Aquarium and witness to the incident, told KTLA-TV. "The shark did not come up and purposefully attack somebody."
Carley Dryden, a reporter for the Torrance Daily Breeze, posted a photo of Robles and his injuries on Twitter Sunday.
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