There's been an increase in shark sightings in Southern California recently and on Saturday, a woman was attacked and seriously injured while swimming at San Onofre Beach, in north San Diego county, at the surf break known as "Church."
According to the Orange County Register, the victim, whose name has not been released to the public, was swimming in the water with three other women, one also swimming and the other two surfing. While wearing swim fins and wading in the water, she was bitten on her leg. State Park Aide Travis Lara stated that she was bitten on her "glute and down her thigh."
The incident happened in the late afternoon. Camp Pendleton spokesperson Sgt. Asia Sorenson reported that the victim was airlifted from San Onofre by Mercy Air-5 to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.
The woman was carried from the water by two surfers and first attended to by a group on the beach, including Thomas Williams, a 29-year-old San Clemente man who recently passed his EMT training course.
"It was definitely to the point, her hamstring was gone," Williams told the Orange County Registry on Saturday. "If she didn't receive immediate care, it was life-threatening. All of the back of her leg was kind of missing."
A surf leash was used as a makeshift tourniquet to reduce the bleeding. The victim was coherent while being treated. Camp Pendleton medics were quick to the scene.
Officials announced that no one would be allowed in the water for 72 hours. Swimming and surfing were prohibited according to a sign at the entrance to San Onofre Surf Beach. Military guards kept beachgoers out of the water adjacent to Camp Pendleton Campground. “Shark Warning Keep Out” signs were posted near the incident.
Lower Trestles, just north of Church, is known as one of the most consistent, high-performance, and crowded surf breaks in the country. On Sunday morning, there was clean three-to-four foot swell and there were dozens of surfers in the water.
This is the second attack off local waters in a year.