SoCal shark attack victim identified, currently ‘fighting for her life’

The woman who was attacked by a shark on Saturday at the popular “Church” surf spot at San Onofre State Beach in North County San Diego has been identified as 35-year-old, mother of three Leeanne Ericson, as reported by the Orange County Register.

Per the Register, Ericson had been camping on Saturday and decided to go swimming with her boyfriend, who was surfing, when she was attacked.

“She was swimming, he was surfing and I guess he heard her scream when he was on the board,” Laura Smith, Ericson’s family friend, told CBS 8. “He jumped and dove off the board and went looking for her and found her on the bottom and brought her up on the surfboard.”

Smith told CBS 8 that Ericson’s boyfriend paddled her to shore where witnesses used a surf leash as a tourniquet to stop the blood loss from her leg wounds. The injuries were so severe that, at the time of the attack, one witness told the Orange County Register “her hamstring was gone” and added “if she didn’t receive immediate care, it was life-threatening.”

shark attack san onofre shark attack southern california

The beaches surrounding the area of the shark attack will likely be closed until Wednesday morning. Photo: Courtesy of Laylan Connelly/OC Register

Jen Adeva, a surfer who helped pull Ericson ashore, told the Register that Ericson’s leg was cut to the bone from the attack. Adeva was clearly shaken up from the incident.

“It could have been me [that was attacked],” Adeva told the Register. “It could have been anyone in that situation.”

CBS 8 also reports that Ericson drowned in the attack and had to have her breathing restarted onshore. Doctors have stabilized Ericson, but she currently remains in a medically induced coma.

A GoFundMe page started by family friends to help pay for Ericson’s medical bills states in its description that she is “fighting for her life.” As of publishing this story, the GoFundMe has already raised over $23,000.

Chris Lowe, the director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach, told the Orange County Register that the shark that attacked Ericson was likely a great white or a seven-gill shark.

Read more on shark activity in Southern California

Great white breaches just beyond Trestles lineup; video

Great white rips into whale carcass off SoCal coast; video