SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A man was rescued Tuesday afternoon after suffering a shark bite near the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The bite was near his hand or wrist. He was rescued around 1 p.m. and transported via helicopter from San Francisco to Stanford Hospital.
A Coast Guard official did not know what the man was doing when he was bitten.
Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm identified the person bitten as Ron Elliott, a commercial diver and documentary filmmaker who is featured in a new film called “Near Miss” about his encounter with a great white shark off the Farallones last year.
Schramm said a passing boat picked him up and then a Coast Guard chopper took him to the Stanford hospital emergency room. Ellliot was seen walking from the chopper to the ER, according to Schramm.
Schramm said Elliott is a legend around the sanctuary. She got word Tuesday afternoon about the attack.
“Our first thought was that we hope it wasn’t Ron Elliott,” said Schramm. “Apparently, he was bitten on the hand and forearm and then evacuated by boat and helicopter down to Stanford. And he was seen leaving the helicopter on his own steam.”
Elliott has been the subject of at least three documentaries in recent years. One by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows him combining his two great passions: diving and taking pictures of sea life.
NOAA says Elliott has often been a guide for scientists and others who want to navigate the beautiful but treacherous waters of the Farallone Islands.
“Every time a human goes swimming around here or goes surfing off Ocean Beach they are in a shark’s habitat during the fall months,” said Schramm. “So we know Ron. We know he’s not trying to make the sharks do anything except be themselves, essentially, and he’s in a good position. He’s extremely passive in his cinematography approach. So he’s not a person who’s disrupting their behavior.”
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