San Clemente has become Shark City in the local news after a spate of great white encounters and sightings, with one attack taking place late last week. A woman’s leg was bitten by a Great White on Saturday off San Onofre State Beach. News continued to break on Sunday when nine 8- to 10-foot sharks were seen around Poche Beach in Dana Point, two surfers were reportedly chased out of the water at Upper Trestles, and an 11-ft great white was seen swimming underneath the San Clemente pier by a local fisherman.
San Clemente beaches were due to re-open on Tuesday, but then the pack of nine great whites was seen by an Orange County Fire Authority helicopter on Monday. The below Instagram photo, from local photographer Matt Larmand, was taken in front of his Orange County home on Sunday:
According to the O.C Register as of late Tuesday, San Clemente city beaches are reopened, but are still under advisory.
Prior to the update from city officials, San Clemente lifeguard chief Bill Humphreys told The Register that while state parks are too large to enforce visitors to avoid the water (surfers were still trying to score fun, less-crowded sets at Lowers, even after the advisory), city beaches were being tightly monitored, and lifeguards regularly called surfers out of the water.
“The seriousness has escalated. And we do have the manpower to enforce,” says Humphreys. “It’s a real slippery slope if you allow people to go in the water when it’s closed. When you allow 2 people, it turns to 20 and 40. We have kids, we have families, we have a variety of people to look out for,” Humphreys said. “Say that person gets hurt, with any kind of injury, now the lifeguard have to respond in this water that we’ve deemed potentially dangerous.”
The Register reports that Leeanne Ericson, the 36-year-old victim from the attack at San Onofre on Saturday, remains in critical condition Tuesday, based on an updated from Scripps Memorial Hospital spokesman Steve Carpowich.