Sea lion attack caught on camera

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By Emily Valdez, KGTV

SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego fisherman posing with his big catch says he got dragged underwater by a sea lion.

The beginning of the attack was captured in a photo.

"It was terrifying," said Dan Carlin. "When the sea lion was taking me down, and I was going at that rate of speed, at that point I knew I was going to die.

"We intentionally don't feed the seals, we don't feed the birds, we take the carcasses and all the remains and put them in a bucket," said Dan's wife Trish.

It happened on board their boat in the Mission Bay Channel in early April.

As Dan posed for a photo with a recent catch, the attack began.

"The minute that she said smile, a sea lion came up and grabbed my hand and the fish at the same time, ripped my arm straight down right here, crushing my chest with unbelievable force," said Dan. "Flipped my legs up in the air and I went straight down."

"I look up and he's gone," said Trish.

"I've never gone through the water as fast as I was moving, just by my hand he's holding me now," Dan recalled.

Dan thinks he was under and struggling with the sea lion for about 20 seconds before he broke free. But the sea lion wasn't done with Dan.

"Just before I got to the surface, I felt him bite my foot," he said.

The Carlins want to warn people to stay clear of the sea lions.

"I feel very lucky to be alive," Dan said.