Portuguese triathlete attacked by seal during training session at California beach: VIDEO

He said he tried to grab the seal's teeth and open its mouth to get it off but was unsuccessful.

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Saturday, September 17, 2022
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A Portuguese triathlete was attacked by a seal in Zuma Beach during a training session - and it was all captured on video.

MALIBU, Calif. -- A Portuguese triathlete was attacked by a seal at a California beach during a training session - and it was all captured on video.

Vasco Vilaca, a 22-year-old who finished second place in the Super League Triathlon in Munich last weekend, was in Malibu for training when he said the seal bit his arm.

He said he attempted to safely get the animal off without distressing the animal.

"I was just swimming in the ocean and was unlucky enough to swim towards where a seal was," he said in a report about the incident posted on the Super League Triathlon's website. "It started swimming towards me and got very close and it felt like a dog smelling me."

A Super League Triathlon crew was filming the athlete and captured the attack.

"I tried to just slowly, without doing anything aggressive, push it away and at a certain point there was a strong wave that pushed it against me and then I pushed it more aggressively away because it was on me and then it got scared and bit my arm and wouldn't let go," said Vilaca.

He said he tried to grab the seal's teeth and open its mouth to get it off.

"I didn't know what to do with the seal because I thought if I let go it would bite me again," he said.

He added, "When it bit me, I had a wetsuit on but one of the teeth cut through and punctured through the skin. When I was grabbing the teeth from underneath and was grabbing the mouth was when I got a few cuts on my hands. I am happy to be ok."

Vilaca was able to swim to shore after a large wave ultimately got the seal off.

Super League Triathlon officials said he was treated by lifeguards on the beach before being taken to a medical facility for an evaluation.

He has since been cleared to participate in this weekend's race.