Woman attacked by shark at San Onofre Beach - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Woman attacked by shark at San Onofre Beach

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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (CBS 8/AP) - San Onofre beach on Camp Pendleton, which was closed following a shark attack that left Vista woman severely injured, is expected to reopen Wednesday morning, base officials announced Monday.

A shark attacked Leeanne Ericson, who was camping at San Onofre, as she waded in the ocean with friends, tearing away part of her upper thigh off, authorities and witnesses said Sunday.  

She loves the ocean and decided to join her boyfriend in the water when she was bitten by a shark.  

"She was swimming, he was surfing and I guess he heard her scream when he was on the board," said family friend Laura Smith. "He jumped and dove off the board and went looking for her and found her on the bottom and brought her up on the surf board and paddled in with her and tied the leash around her leg to try to control the bleeding until they airlifted her down to the hospital, but if it wasn't for him she wouldn't have made it. He truly save her life." 

Ericson's thigh was severely damaged by the shark. 

"All of the back of her leg was kind of missing," Thomas Williams, one of several witnesses who pulled the woman ashore, told the Orange County Register. "If she didn't receive immediate care, it was life-threatening."  

Williams said the woman was conscious and talking while onlookers used a rubber surfboard leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.  

"She was not calm, of course," he said. "But she was coherent."  

The injury was likely caused by a great white or a seven-gill shark, said Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach. 

Several sharks have been sighted in the area recently.  

VIDEO: Shark jumps out of water near Lower Trestles 

Doctor's stabilized Ericson, but she remains in a medically induced coma as her three children wait for answers. 

"There are three little girls that are quite nervous and anxious and it's going to be a shock," said Smith. "And the long run regardless of the bills - the bills are going to be that much more pressure on everything." 

The family is raising money on GoFundMe for Ericson's medical expenses.  

They're grateful for the quick thinking that saved her from paying the ultimate price. 

"She was technically drowned so someone had to start breathing for her and getting her back to life," said Smith. "She was conscious when they airlifted her so she was conscious and talking." 

The beach was expected to remain closed until Monday.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that great white sharks have been breaching waves in the area over the past month.

Saturday's attack was only the 11th recorded in the area in the past seven decades, the newspaper also reported. The last fatal shark attack in San Diego County was off Fletcher Cove in 2008.


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