Hammerhead Shark Attacks Diver Off California Coast

A diver was attacked by a hammerhead shark on Monday roughly 100 miles from the coast of California, in an incident that was surprising because of the species involved.

The interaction took place 100 miles off San Diego, Coast Guard officials noted. The unidentified diver had entered the water from a passenger vessel shortly after 8 a.m. when he was approached by a hammerhead shark, which bit him in the right hand. After receiving basic first aid from the boat’s crew, he was then transported by air to a hospital for treatment, according to NBC San Diego.

Shark attacks are nothing new this summer, as the Inquisitr has previously reported. While a spate of the incidents have captured media attention along the North Carolina coastline, the west coast has hardly seen any negative shark interactions. Coast Guard officials noted following the attack that it represents the first shark bite report they have received this summer.

Simply because shark bites haven’t been recorded, however, doesn’t mean the predators aren’t around. A juvenile population of great white sharks took up residence off Seal and Huntington Beaches earlier in the summer, for instance, startling swimmers with their proximity to shore. The sharks posed little threat, however, and were regularly approached by paddle boarders and surfers. At that stage in their lives, the sharks feed on stingrays and small fish and are relatively harmless to humans.

Back on the east coast, several hammerhead sharks have also been sighted near populated beaches. In June, a hammerhead repeatedly approached beaches in Ocean City, Maryland, showing little fear of humans. As swimmers were chased from the surf, officials asserted that the shark could have been injured, which would account for its odd behavior around people. After 24 hours, the shark eventually swam back out to sea, as the Washington Post reported.

Hammerhead sharks often act non-aggressively when approached by divers, unless they have been lured in with bait or hooked and released. While several species of hammerhead swim the world’s oceans, they pose little danger when compared to other sharks. Hammerhead sharks have been implicated in fewer than 20 attacks on humans, making such negative interactions exceedingly rare.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]