Catalina Island

Youth Boater Hospitalized After Shark Bite Near Catalina Island Boy Scout Camp

The boater was a bit on the hand while boating during camp at Boy Scouts' Camp Emerald Bay

Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

A young boy who was boating with his father off the coast of Catalina Island was hospitalized following a shark bite Wednesday morning.

The father and son, whose age was not immediately available, were attending summer camp at Camp Emerald Bay, a youth camp owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America, on the northwest end of Catalina Island.

The pair were "kayaking near Parson's Landing when their boat was bumped by what is believed to be a shark of unknown size and type," according to a statement posted to Twitter by the Los Angeles County Lifeguards. The statement added, "During the encounter, the patient reached their hand into the water and was bit by the animal."

Parson's Landing is a remote beach, roughly one and a half miles by water, west of Camp Emerald Bay.

"A camp youth participant sustained a non-life-threatening bite injury from a shark while canoeing near Emerald Bay," said Lee Harrison, the Chief Executive Officer for the Boy Scouts' Western Los Angeles County Council, the council that oversees the operations of the camp.

The camp's on-site doctor and paramedic provided aid after the bite, until additional medical personnel arrived, who later airlifted the young man to a hospital.

"We provide a chase boat, which goes out before every water activity that takes place outside of Emerald Bay to identify potential weather and wildlife hazards and follows each group of participants back to shore. No hazards were spotted this morning," according to Harrison.

The water in 1 mile in both directions of the incident site were closed by lifeguards, in accordance with Los Angeles County Fire Department policy and will remain closed for a minimum of 24 hours.

Lifeguards also say they contacted a shark expert from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in an attempt to identify the size and type of shark involved.

Chris Lowe, the Director of the California State University Long Beach Shark Lab, tells our sister station NBCLA, that the area where the incident occurred, is known for adult sharks, particularly pregnant mothers.

While this encounter was the camp's first shark-related injury in their nearly 100-year history, according to Harrison, this is not the first shark related incident in recent time at the facility.

NBC 7's Jackie Crea spoke to two kayakers about their terrifying experience.

In October 2019, two men from San Diego, were kayaking near Ship Rock, just east of Camp Emerald Bay, when a shark began "chomping down on their kayak."

After their 2019 encounter, Jon Chambers and Danny McDaniel told NBC 7 that experts from Scripps Institution of Oceanography estimated the shark involved in the 2019 incident was believed to be about 19 feet long based on the size of the two teeth they recovered that had been lodged in their kayak.

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