‘I was in shock’

Sea lion drags lit­tle girl into wa­ter at Van­cou­ver area wharf.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page -

The man who shot heart-stop­ping video of a sea lion snatch­ing a lit­tle girl off a Van­cou­ver-area wharf says at first he froze.

“I was just in shock. I didn’t know what to do at first,’’ Michael Fujiwara said a day af­ter he shot the video on Satur­day that shows the sea lion lunge up, grab the lit­tle girl’s white dress and pull her down into the wa­ter at the Steve­ston Wharf in Rich­mond, B.C.

The ter­ri­fy­ing video that Fujiwara posted on­line shows a man im­me­di­ately leap­ing into the wa­ter, scoop­ing up the child and haul­ing her to safety.

Fujiwara, 23, said he be­lieves the man is the girl’s grand­fa­ther, and he grabbed both of their hands to help pull them back up to the dock.

“I was just pan­ick­ing, ac­tu­ally. I’ve never seen any­thing like that be­fore. I just didn’t know how to re­act,’’ said Fujiwara who was hav­ing cof­fee at the wharf when he de­cided to pull his phone out to take some video of the sea lion swim­ming by the wharf mo­ments be­fore it snatched the girl.

“Every­one just thought it was su­per friendly and all, but sec­onds later the girl de­cided to sit on the side of the dock and that’s when the sea lion de­cided to jump out and drag her into the wa­ter,’’ Fujiwara said.

The fam­ily was vis­i­bly shaken by the in­ci­dent, Fujiwara added, and im­me­di­ately left the area. Fujiwara posted the video on­line Satur­day and by Sun­day af­ter­noon, the video had been viewed more than 2.6 mil­lion times on YouTube, and shared more than 700 times on Twit­ter.

Bob Baz­iuk, gen­eral man­ager of the Steve­ston Har­bour Author­ity, said watch­ing the video made his stom­ach turn.

“It’s an un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent, first and fore­most. I hope the lit­tle girl’s OK,’’ he said. “But we’ve been try­ing to get that mes­sage out for years and years — don’t feed the an­i­mals. You’re just ask­ing for trou­ble when you do that.’’

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