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Single Mom Fighting for Her Life after Shark Attack in San Onofre

Single Mom Fighting for Her Life after Shark Attack in San Onofre Image courtesy of NBC San Diego

Leeanne Ericson, 35, suffered life-threatening injuries after she was attacked off San Onofre State Beach by a shark. According to news reports, Ericson was in the ocean swimming with her boyfriend the evening of April 29, 2017 when a shark ripped out the back of her thigh “from her glute to her knee.” Her mother wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for Ericson and her children saying her daughter has a long road to recovery with several surgeries to go. She sank into the water before she was rescued by surfers and airlifted to a hospital.

Surfers Pull Off Timely Rescue

Ericson has been placed in a medically-induced coma. Doctors say Ericson nearly drowned when the shark pulled her underwater. She is now in the hospital fighting for her life. Thomas Williams, a surfer who was nearby, pulled the woman ashore with his friends Grant Parker, Wade Nevitt and Hunter Robinson. The entire back of Ericson’s leg was missing, according to reports.

Onlookers used a rubber surfboard leash and a tourniquet to stop the bleeding while Ericson was still talking and coherent. Without timely help from these men, Ericson would have likely died, observers said. Officials say the injury could have been caused by a great white or a seven-gill shark. Nearly a year ago, a woman was bitten by a shark while swimming off Corona del Mar, about 25 miles to the north of this most recent attack.

Can You Prevent a Shark Attack?

While the danger of a shark attack does lurk off Southern California’s beaches, there are a few steps ocean lovers can take to stay safe:

  • Make sure you always swim in a group. Sharks often attack lone individuals.
  • Do not wander too far from the shore. Doing so isolates you from assistance.
  • Avoid the water at night, dawn or dusk since sharks are most active at these times and are better able to find you than you are to see them.
  • Don’t enter the water if you are injured or bleeding. Sharks can smell blood and trace it back to its source.
  • Don’t wear shiny jewelry since the reflected light looks like fish scales.
  • Avoid waters being fished and those with plenty of baitfish.
  • Always heed a shark warning. Don’t get into the water if warnings are posted.
  • Use caution near sandbars or steep drop-offs since these are favorite hangouts for sharks.

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California Personal Injury Blog