CAMP PENDLETON (AP) — A woman who lost part of her right leg in a shark attack while wading at a popular Southern California beach was listed in critical condition Monday at a hospital.
Leeanne Ericson was rescued Saturday by a handful of Camp Pendleton beachgoers, including one who used a tourniquet fashioned from a surfboard leash to stanch the bleeding.
She was flown to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where hospital spokeswoman Janice Collins said she was critical condition but declined to release further details.
“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.
He said a veteran surfer, Hunter Robinson, suggested using a surfboard leash to stanch the bleeding until Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base emergency personnel arrived.
The shark attacked at a beach known as Church on the northern tip of the base.
Ericson is a single mother of three young children, according to a GoFundMe page to raise money for her recovery. The page, which had raised a little more than $23,000 by Monday afternoon, was created by Christine McKnerney Leidle, who did not immediately respond to email messages.
Members of Ericson’s family could not be immediately reached.
Authorities immediately shut down a three-mile stretch (4.8 kilometers) of shoreline extending from a mile (0.6 kilometers) north of Church to nearby San Onofre and San Clemente state beaches.
The area was expected to be reopened Wednesday to swimmers and surfers.
“If we do have additional sightings, aggressive shark behavior or something that warrants extending the closing beyond Wednesday we would certainly reassess, but right now we haven’t had anything,” said Todd Lewis, superintendent for the central sector of California State Parks, Orange Coast District.
It didn’t appear anyone recorded video of the attack, and it wasn’t known if the shark was a great white, although several have been seen in the area over the past year.
While shark sightings are not uncommon along the California coast, attacks are rare and fatalities even more so.
The last shark attack in the area that Lewis could recall involved Maria Korcsmaros, who was training for an ironman competition when she was bitten last May off the coast of nearby Newport Beach.
A shark chewed into her sides, ribs and liver but she recovered and swam in a triathlete competition in San Diego last October.
In two separate incidents in February, fisherman reeled in what were believed to be great white sharks, one onto the Huntington Beach Pier and the other onto the sand. Both were quickly returned to the ocean, as required by law.
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