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Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135
Contact: John Golda, 415-464-5143
Contact: Park Dispatch, 415-464-5170
At approximately 9:30 am today, a surfer at Limantour Beach was struck by a shark. He was on his surfboard and his legs were hanging over the sides of the board when the shark grabbed his lower leg. The man reported that he hit the 6-8 foot long shark on the head and the animal released his leg. The man was able to paddle to shore on his own.
At 10:28 am, the surfer was evacuated by the Sonoma County Henry 1 helicopter to a local hospital. The surfer sustained injuries to the lower leg. The injuries did not appear to be life threatening.
Point Reyes National Seashore responded by closing the waters offshore of Limantour Beach and the adjacent Drakes Beach areas. No other shark sightings have been reported since the incident. The closure will continue through the next five days. The areas will be reopened to swimming, wading, and surfing if no additional sharks are sighted. Point Reyes National Seashore receives approximately 2.5 million visitors per year; Limantour Beach receives about 500,000 visitors annually.
Based on the behavior, park officials believe the incident involved a great white shark. White sharks are often seen in coastal waters off Point Reyes National Seashore in the fall when high numbers of juvenile California sea lions, northern elephant seals, and harbor seals are visiting the Seashore’s beaches and rocky shores. The last shark incident at Point Reyes National Seashore occurred at Tomales Point in 1996 on an abalone diver who also survived his injuries. South of Point Reyes at Stinson Beach, a shark attack occurred in May of 2002 also prompting closure of the waters where the incident occurred. From 1950 through 1999, an average of 2.1 shark attacks occurred per year along the California Coast. Of the 106 attacks during this period, 11 were fatal.