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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Shark Bites 46-Year-Old Man in California During Group Swim

A 46-year-old man in California was hospitalized with injuries “not believed to be life-threatening” after a shark bit him during a group swim on the morning of Sunday, June 2.

According to a press release posted by the city of Del Mar, the apparent shark attack took place around 9 a.m. local time and 100 yards offshore from the city’s Beach Safety Center at 17th Street. At the time, the victim was training with around a dozen swimmers who meet up regularly.

An ambulance transported him to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was treated for his injuries, which “included bites to the torso, left arm and hand.” The injuries were considered “significant but not believed to be life-threatening,” per city officials.

Beaches within one mile in either direction of the encounter were later closed for both swimming and surfing. The closures, which remain in effect through 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4, were in accordance with protocols from the California Marine Safety Chiefs Association and the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach, the city said.

Woman watches lifeguards pass by on a boat in Del Mar, Calif.

Hayne Palmour IV/Shutterstock

Jon Edelbrock, Del Mar’s community services director and chief lifeguard, told CNN that the victim’s friends helped him get to the shore and that he was left with “obvious injuries from the incident that required surgery, mostly large lacerations.”

Researchers from the Shark Lab later found that the man was most likely bitten by a juvenile white shark after taking water samples and analyzing the man’s wetsuit for potential DNA, director Chris Lowe told the outlet.

Lowe added that researchers are hoping to eventually use a tool that will allow them to determine if the shark involved can be located in the area later on, and also shared that shark bites were rare in the area.

“What’s interesting is that we’ve been monitoring that site because it’s known as a juvenile aggregation site,” he told CNN. “We’ve tagged over 60 sharks there over the years and they’re detected routinely. We detected four today.”

“Sharks are known to avoid people, but every once in a while, they make mistakes,” the director added. “It’s possible the shark involved in this incident was literally just passing through and hadn’t had a chance to encounter people.”

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According to NBC News, which cited information from the National Data Buoy Center, the attack happened during relatively normal conditions for June — which featured 3-foot waves at a 64-degree water temperature.

Citing the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, the outlet also reported that two unprovoked shark attacks took place in California in 2023, one of which was fatal. The data also showed that Del Mar’s San Diego County had 20 unprovoked attack incidents since 1926 and led the state.

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