San Onofre-area beaches reopened to the public Wednesday morning, four days after a near-fatal shark attack prompted authorities to close a stretch of ocean shoreline near the border of San Diego and Orange counties.
Leeanne Ericson, 35, was swimming in the surf at San Onofre Beach — which is part of Camp Pendleton — about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when a shark tore off the back of her thigh “from her glute to her knee,” her mother, Christine McKnerney Leidle, wrote on a GoFundMe.com page set up to help defray the victim’s medical costs.[contextly_sidebar id=”kKExd6O6e3sqLulQkBFtajulWPkAZ4V2″]Ericson, a single mother of three from Vista, was hospitalized in critical condition and placed in a medically induced coma.
“She has a long (road) ahead with several surgeries to go,” her mother wrote.
The attack prompted authorities to close the military-owned beach and adjacent San Onofre State Beach for 72 hours. Signs warning of the possible presence of sharks will remain posted in those areas for another three days, said Rich Haydon, parks superintendent for the latter beach.
Officials have received “a number” of reports of shark sightings over the last few days, Haydon said.
The attack on Ericson — thought to have been carried out by a great white or a sevengill shark — was only the 11th recorded in the area in the past seven decades.
More than $55,000 had been donated to the victim via GoFundMe as of Wednesday afternoon.
Ericson’s employer, Pacific Marine Credit Union, has also set up an account into which its customers can transfer money. Pacific Marine patrons can also donate in person at any of its locations, or over the phone by calling (760) 631-8700.
— City News Service
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