SAN DIEGO — A man posing for a picture Sunday while holding his “trophy fish” was attacked by a sea lion which hauled him over the side of a boat into the water, a San Diego Fire-Rescue official said.
The 62-year-old victim, who was not identified, was holding a fish posing for a picture near the Hyatt Mission Bay Marina at 2:40 p.m. being taken by a friend when the marine mammal attacked.
“The man was bitten by a sea lion and pulled into the water,” San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson said.
A 300-pound sea lion grabbed the fish and pulled the man over the side into the water and dragged him 20 feet through the water.
“We estimated that he was in the water for 15 to 20 seconds. At that point, the sea lion let go and he was able to jump back into his boat,” said San Diego lifeguard Lt. John Sandmeyer.
The man sustained puncture wounds and lacerations to his leg, and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Boaters at the marina said they’ve never heard of such an attack, but have noticed sea lions becoming more aggressive.
“Normally, they would just leave when you walked up to them. Now, they’re actually turning and chasing you when you try to get on your boat. At night, they make all kinds of noise – can’t even sleep on your boat anymore,” said Erik Kopp, a boater.