Amid a sweltering heat wave that brought sizable crowds to Southern California’s shores, two miles of beaches in Orange County were closed to swimmers Sunday after several large sharks were spotted near the coast, authorities said.
The closure comes a week after a 52-year-old woman was attacked by a shark while swimming off the coast of Newport Beach.
A helicopter crew from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department spotted the sharks about 2 p.m. near Anderson Street in Huntington Beach, said Lt. Claude Panis with Huntington Beach Fire Department’s Marine Safety Division.
The sharks seen by deputies were at least eight feet long and about 150 yards from the shore, Panis said.
Sunset Beach in Huntington Beach and the adjoining Surfside Beach in Seal Beach were closed to swimmers and surfers for the rest of the day. Officials in both cities plan to reevaluate Monday morning whether to keep the beaches closed.
“It’s a precaution due to the size of the sharks and potential for aggressive behavior,” said Michael Diller, a lifeguard and beach supervisor in Seal Beach.
A Huntington Beach city helicopter surveyed the ocean about 3:30 p.m. and also found three sharks that measured about 10 to 12 feet, Panis said.