Woman attacked by shark at popular surf spot is ‘fighting for her life,’ mother says


A woman who was attacked by a shark while swimming at a popular surf spot off Camp Pendleton’s San Onofre State Beach is “fighting for her life,” her mother wrote Sunday.

Leeanne Ericson was in the water at a surf break dubbed “Church” when she was bitten on her thigh about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Bystanders helped pull her to shore and stanch the bleeding until she could be airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, authorities said.

Christine McKnerney Leidle wrote on a GoFundMe page that her daughter is expected to undergo several surgeries and that her recovery will be lengthy.


“She is a single mom with three young children who depend on her,” McKnerney Leidle wrote. “She has a long (road) ahead….”

The beach was closed after the attack, and California State Parks officials and Marine Corps commanders appear poised to extend the ban.

“We’ve closed the beaches in the geographic proximity to the attack,” said Todd Lewis, the Central Sector superintendent for California State Parks’ Orange Coast District. “It appears that the lifeguards at Camp Pendleton are recommending that the beach remain closed for another 24 hours. If they make that final determination, we will follow suit.”

That would mean no swimming, surfing or diving along the coast about a mile north and south of San Onofre State Beach.

Lewis said that Camp Pendleton’s commanders and state officials both follow similar policies whenever there are verified reports of “aggressive behavior or an attack” by a shark.

Camp Pendleton posted guards on Sunday to bar visitors from the water, with lifeguards from Marine Corps Community Services on the scene as well.


Prine and Winkley write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.