Shark attack near San Diego shuts down Del Mar beach for at least 48 hours

A 50-year-old woman was bitten by a shark in the water off Del Mar Fri
A 50-year-old woman was bitten by a shark in the water off 17th Street in Del Mar on Friday, lifeguards said.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

A 50-year-old woman was bitten by a shark in the water off Del Mar on Friday morning, prompting a beach closure of at least 48 hours in the area, city lifeguard officials said.

Lifeguards keeping watch over the beach near 17th Street spotted the woman and a companion behaving strangely in the water about 10 a.m., Del Mar Lifeguard Chief Jon Edelbroc said.

“Then they started waving their arms,” Edelbroc said.

Lifeguards, joined minutes later by medics, assisted the woman, who was bitten on her upper thigh, the lifeguard chief said. She was taken to a hospital with punctures and lacerations, and is stable and recovering.


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Edelbroc said it’s too early to know what kind of shark bit the woman. Both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Cal State Long Beach’s Shark Lab will inspect the size of the woman’s bite and her damaged wetsuit before making a determination.

“There are some pretty solid metrics about the size and shape of the bite that help them determine the size and type of shark,” Edelbroc said.

The waters off Southern California are a nursery for white sharks, and the animals are seen often in local waters.

“This is their habitat,” Edelbroc said. “Most interactions are peaceful.”

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Still, when bites do happen, they can be catastrophic.

In 2018, 13-year-old Keane Webre-Hayes nearly lost his arm to a shark bite in the waters off Encinitas. A shark attack at the Church surf break near San Onofre in 2017 left swimmer Leeanne Ericson with a life-threatening leg wound. Solana Beach triathlete Dave Martin died in a shark attack in 2008. All three incidents involved white sharks.

The entirety of Del Mar’s beach will be closed for at least 48 hours as a precaution, Edelbroc said. If the closure is not extended, the beach will reopen at 9 a.m. Sunday.