Lifeguard at Beacon's Beach
A lifeguard searches for sharks. Photo courtesy OnScene.TV

A swimmer was injured Friday in an apparent shark attack off the coast of Del Mar, authorities reported.

The 50-year-old woman suffered leg wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening while swimming with a companion about 100 yards from shore near the terminus of 17th Street at about 10 a.m., said Jon Edelbrock, lifeguard chief for the city of Del Mar.

After lifeguards helped the victim, who was wearing a wetsuit, to shore and provided first-aid, paramedics took her to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where she was admitted in stable condition.

Lifeguards then searched the water for sharks, finding none.

Though officials could not immediately confirm that the woman’s injuries were due to a shark, that appeared to be the case, Edelbrock said.

“She was fairly clear that she saw a shark,” he said.

It was unclear what species or size of shark it might have been.

A two-mile stretch of the beach in the area will be closed through at least Sunday as a precaution due to the incident, according to city officials.

Lifeguards will perform drone flyovers and patrol the area throughout the weekend from dawn until dusk in search of sharks, they advised.

The presumed attack occurred five days after the carcass of an 8-foot juvenile great white shark that appeared to have been injured by a large fishing hook washed ashore at Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, authorities said.

Serious shark attacks remain fairly rare in the region, though a handful have occurred in recent years.

On Sept. 29, 2018, Keane Hayes, 13, was mauled by a great white shark while lobster diving off the coast of Encinitas, his home town. Though critically injured, the boy recovered following surgery for a wound that stretched over the left side of his body and head, from his upper back and torso to his arm and the side of his face, his physicians said.

On April 29, 2017, Leeanne Ericson, 35, of Vista was gravely injured in a shark attack as she swam in the surf about an hour before sunset off the coast of San Onofre Beach. Though the predator tore off much of her right buttocks and thigh, Ericson survived.

The most recent recorded local fatal shark encounter took place on the morning of April 25, 2008, when a great white attacked retired veterinarian and fitness aficionado David Martin, 66, of Solana Beach as he swam with fellow triathletes near a surf spot known as Table Tops, south of San Elijo Lagoon.

The attack left Martin’s legs nearly severed. He was pronounced dead at a nearby lifeguard station about an hour after the attack.

Martin’s death may have been the first fatal San Diego-area shark attack since April 1994, when the ravaged body of Michelle Von Emster, 25, washed ashore at Sunset Cliffs, south of Ocean Beach. The county Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that she had died of a shark attack.

However, several experts, including Richard Rosenblatt, professor emeritus of marine biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, questioned at the time whether Von Emster might have drowned before sharks found and fed on her body.

Prior to that incident, the last recorded deadly shark attack in San Diego County occurred offshore from La Jolla in 1959, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Shark File.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Updated 7:25 p.m. Nov. 4, 2022