California is known for its ideal weather and nice beaches. Swimsuits, surfboards and a laid-back attitude are trademark of the coastal areas.
But over the years, there have been more beach-goers of the heart-stopping sort. Shark warning signs have become a regular sight on many beaches, and there are plenty of videos online of drones flying out over the ocean and recording rather chilling footage.
On Saturday, the lobster season started early in the morning. Enthusiasts flocked to the beaches, including Encinitas’ Beacon Beach.
At around 7 a.m., when the young teen was around 200 yards from shore, he was attacked by a shark. Divers nearby heard his screams.
Fortunately for the boy, three of the closer divers included a state park lifeguard and an off-duty policeman, as well as a diver named Chad Hammel. Hammel later recounted the incident during an interview with CNN.
“And then I realized that he was yelling, ‘I got bit! Help, help,'” he said.
“Once we got him on the kayak we could really see what happened. And his whole clavicle’s ripped open; you could see the ball and socket joint and everything.”
As the three took the boy to shore, undoubtedly saving his life, the shark followed them. Some people reported that the shark looked to be around 11 feet long, but no one knows for sure what kind it was (though, of course, many are assuming it’s a great white).
The director of Long Beach State University’s Shark Lab is on the case. In a statement released on Saturday, he explained what his role and goals were.
“Right now, I’m working with Encinitas Lifeguards and authorities to try to identify the species of shark involved and provide assistance in terms of beach safety based on current knowledge of shark behavior,” the statement read.
“Once we know more about the details of the incident, we may be able to determine the species involved and provide advice for future beach precautions.”
According to the LA Times, Captain Larry Giles, a lifeguard for the area, said that the waters off the coast are home to over 135 species. This is not the first time someone has been attacked in these waters, but it’s extremely rare.
Even the chief surgeon at Rady Children’s Hospital, the hospital the boy was taken to, commented on the unusual nature of the attack. “This is a rare injury,” he said, according to the LA Times. “This is not something we see much of, to be honest with you.”
While it’s a mercy these instances are so rare, that doesn’t change the facts for the boy’s family. He’s in critical condition as of Saturday night: He’s in good hands, and only time will tell whether this young man will be able to pull through.
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