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Possible great white shark attack off Carlsbad no cause for alarm


Reports of a possible attack by a juvenile white shark on a swimmer off Carlsbad have surfaced on the Internet but should not be cause for alarm.

The incident occurred last Tuesday afternoon off Terramar Beach. Bethany Edmund was swimming about 300 feet from shore in the surfing lineup, trying to shoot photos. A large fish jumped, and moments later she felt a sharp pain in her right foot and thought she had kicked the reef.

"About 30 seconds later I felt the same sharp pain and, this time, I began to swim away from the area," Edmund said in a report posted on the Shark Research Committee website. "About a minute later while I was swimming from the area I was hit on the upper right thigh and propelled about one foot out of the water. This is when I realized what was happening and began to bodysurf toward shore.

"The first wave I caught I felt something in the area of my calf pulling me back and down under water. ... I ignored what had just occurred and caught another wave to the beach. This time I felt the same sharp pain in my left calf, but this time I was dragged under water and shaken for 4-5 seconds. During this struggle I accidentally kicked the shark and it released me."

There was no profuse bleeding, only small puncture wounds. Area beaches were not closed. Ralph Collier of the Shark Research Committee used these bite marks to determine it was a white shark measuring 5 to 6 feet. 

It should be pointed out that juvenile white sharks do utilize Southern California waters in the summer, sharing the same environment with thousands of swimmers and surfers. They feed primarily on small fish and rays, and when they get bigger they migrate out of the region and begin preying on seals and sea lions.

There is an ongoing tagging program involving juvenile white sharks in Southland waters. The Monterey Bay Aquarium staff recently captured a 5-foot white shark off Malibu and has the predator on exhibit.

Attacks such as this are extremely rare, and experts will cite that a far greater danger, statistically, lies on the freeways and roads leading to the beach.

Adult great white sharks do not frequent Southern California coastal waters, but they are occasional visitors. This became sadly evident in April 2008, when a 66-year-old swimmer was fatally attacked off Solana Beach.

But that too was a very rare event. 

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Great white shark prowls the waters near Guadalupe Island off Baja California. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

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Comments (12)

That person was very lucky to leave with all limbs entact.

We need to remember that it was their home first. Any time we enter waters inhabited by sharks it's at our peril.


Seriously, people. Shut up. Stop being so damn immature. I have never seen a shark...yet. I go body boarding in the Carlsbad beach every Sunday because I love the sport. The only people that should stay out of the water are arrogant surfing bastards who think they own the ocean. Get over yourself and get a job, or maybe a life.

awesome Tmar attack! now everyone is gonna stay away! right on, hey kooks if u dont want to get bit, stay out of the water.and thats not rob machado. no1 deserves to get bit but kooks dont deserve to surf, stay away from Tmar, i see sharks all the time there

Stay home KOOKS!!!!!!!!!!

I don't believe her!

Not uncommon for the area. Numerous sightings off of the north jetty in oceanside. Possibly going after the seals at the bait shack and the offshore buoy.

Great journalism. Really well written.

Mateo, chill out. Clearly avolocal meant "Escondido," and he/she is correct. Great White sharks love Escondido meat because of the high fat content. Coastal people taste too much like tofu and soy sauce.

yeah. Shark attacks are not what we want. Tourists will be leaving a week or so... calm down

Avolocal learn to spell! Go sharks, go? So you want people to be attacked? Nice, real nice. You should think before you speak or write. We don't need shark attacks.

Leave the sharks alone, they are just looking for food, unfortunately they use their jaws for senseing food. If you are afraid of sharks do-not go in the saltwater or lagoons.

Good, maybe less people will surf and more inlanders will stay home. Go sharks, go! Sharks prefer Esondido meat I hear.


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