Sea lion attacks and injures woman in San Francisco

VitalyEdush/iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A woman is recovering from injuries after she was bitten by a sea lion while swimming in San Francisco's Aquatic Park on Thursday, the fourth attack by a sea lion in the same area in less than a month, officials said.

The woman was attacked around 7 a.m. PT and taken to a local hospital, where she was being treated for injuries to her leg, officials said.

The victim is a member of the South End Rowing Club located near Aquatic Park. Club members told ABC News affiliate KGO-TV that she is an accomplished swimmer.

Club members identified the victim as Irene Chan and said she usually swims in the chilly waters near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf every morning.

"I just heard a yell for help and literally, I swam over to her and asked her what happened and she said she'd been bit and I said, 'Is it bad?'" Alice Ma, who witnessed the attack, told KGO-TV. "So she showed me what it looked like, but it was dark so you really couldn't see anything, so I started swimming with her and I said 'Do you want me to pull you back to the beach?' And she said, 'No, no, I can swim by myself I just can't kick because the sea lion bit me on my knee.'"

Jeannie Duncan, a retired San Francisco Fire Department paramedic, provided Chan with medical help on shore as they waited for an ambulance.

The attack was the fourth by a sea lion at Aquatic Park since mid December, including two that happened on consecutive days. One of the earlier victims, a man, suffered a serious bit to his groin, officials said.

The sea lion attacks prompted the National Parks Service, which oversees Aquatic Park, to ban swimming in the area for several days in December.

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