Spearfisherman attacked by great white shark in California

A spearfisherman was bitten by a great white shark in California November 24.

Grigor Azatian was bitten by a great white shark. Photo: Armen Azatian

Grigor Azatian was fishing with his father off Monterey Bay in Still Water Cove on Friday afternoon.

The experienced fisherman had speared three fish and pointed his father Armen, who was hadn’t taken any fish to a better spot.

Grigor swapped out his speargun for a camera and dove down to take a few photographs, but resurfaced and grabbed his gun again.

Related: Interview with Grigor Azatian

When the 25-year-old dove down in search of fish, he spotted a great white shark he estimated to be 15-feet long. The shark saw Grigor and appeared to swim off.

Returning to the surface, Grigor looked for his father to warn him about the shark. But, the shark struck and grabbed his leg from behind, biting his leg two or three times at mid-thigh and below the knee, tearing a large portion of muscle.

“The shark grabbed him and didn’t let him go, and took at least two bites,” Armen Azatian told the Orange County Register.

“He tried to fight with the shark. I don’t think he could do much, maybe pushing, moving his legs.”

Grigor was able to hit the shark, and once it released its grip, he was able to swim 20 yards to the Zodiac-type boat.

Armen surfaced about 30 yards away and made it back to the boat safely. Once inside the vessel, he used a rope as a tourniquet around his son’s leg.

As the two were on their way to shore, they tried to contact authorities, but neither of their telephones or a new marine radio functioned properly.

Armen said his son was calm and would answer “okay” when asked how he was. “I see it’s not okay. The whole right leg is torn apart and bloody,” he said.

Two off-duty Monterey County Sherriff’s Office deputies were fishing nearby and went to assist the family.

Related: OMNA The surf leash tourniquet that could save your life

One of the deputies had been trained in emergency field medicine and re-applied a tourniquet to stem the massive blood loss.

Grigor was taken to the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas where he underwent a two-hour surgery.

Thankfully, no arteries were injured and most of his leg tissue was still intact.

“I have my son and he’s alive,” Armen said. “That’s the best outcome I could imagine. I’m so grateful.”

Earlier this year a great white shark knocked a kayaker into the water in Monterey Bay.

Brian Correiar had just paddled back from Pacific Grove on March 18, when a shark showed up around 4:30 p.m.

He was knocked out of his kayak and up into air by the large great white shark. Video taken after he landed in the water shows the shark swimming off with the kayak, which may have become entangled with the shark.

In July of 2016, Mark Davis had his boat bitten by a 14 to 15-foot great white in Monterey Bay.

There have been a total of 98* shark attack bites in 2017, 7 of which were fatal*; 48 were reported in the US, with 33 occurring in Florida** and two in Hawaii. Fifteen have been reported in Australia, one of which was fatal. Five unconfirmed worldwide and not included in the total count.

All locations have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking Map.

*Two may be scavenge. **One report may have been outside of Florida waters.

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