‘I tussled with the animal': Survivor describes Del Mar shark attack

Caleb Adams and his friends in his open water swim group were swimming on June 2 when the day took a turn

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A North County man who survived a shark attack off the coast of Del Mar earlier this month is sharing his story as he continues to recover from his injuries.

Caleb Adams, 46, and his friends in his open water swim group were swimming on June 2 when the day took a turn.

"It was a strong hit to my body. I didn't feel more of a pain or a crushing, but I knew I had been hit by a shark," Adams said in an exclusive interview that aired on "TODAY." "I tussled with the animal for what was seconds."

Then, the fighting became intense, according to Adams.

"It came back towards me again, and I used my hands to fend off the animal, positioning my hands on the mouth or nose. It felt kind of like holding a basketball, and then striking it twice with my right hand. The first time landing somewhere on the body, and the second time in the mouth,” Adams said.

He said the escape was made possible by friends in the area.

“When I was swimming him in, the blood was just pouring out of his chest, and we really just needed to get him onshore as quickly as possible,” Kevin Barrett, Adams' friend, said.

Adams was transported to a local hospital, where he was rushed into surgery.

Shark attacks remain an uncommon thing.

“It’s certainly important for everyone to know that shark bites are very rare. We can talk about the statistics and compare them to other things like vending machines falling down on people,” marine biologist Dovi Kacev said.

While Adams continues to heal, he plans on leaning on the local community, which he thanks during this time.

“We are going to be fine,” Adams said.

One of the witnesses who was in the water when a shark attacked a swimmer off the coast of Del Mar described the tense moments. The 46-year-old swimmer was bit several times on Sunday morning, but the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. NBC 7's Kelvin Henry reports on June 3, 2024.
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