Sea lion.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California swimmer hospitalized after sea lion bites him on the arm

A California man was hospitalized after being bitten on the arm by a sea lion in the waters off San Francisco, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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The attack occurred Thursday near Aquatic Park, San Francisco police said. The man had been swimming when the sea lion approached him. The man said he felt threatened and began splashing water at the animal, Officer Matthew Reiter said during a news conference.

“When it didn't work, he yelled at it and then the sea lion came up and bit him on the arm,” said Reiter, a member of the department's marine unit.

He said the man then used his arm to push the animal away and it left. People aboard a nearby sailboat rescued the swimmer and called the Coast Guard.

“The boat saved his life,” Reiter said. “Had that boat not seen him, this could have been a different story."

Reiter applied a tourniquet in an attempt to stop heavy bleeding, the Times reported. The swimmer was taken to a hospital "with a serious extremity injury," the San Francisco Fire Department said in a tweet.

The swimmer was talking the whole time, Reiter said.

“He was more worried about his clothes on the beach than he was about anything else,” he said. “It was a good sign.”

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