A teenage boy attacked by a shark near San Diego had to be airlifted to a hospital on Saturday morning, according to the City of Encinitas Marine Safety Department.
The teen suffered traumatic injuries to the upper torso and was listed in critical condition, officials said.
The 13-year-old boy was up early on Saturday morning catching lobsters on Beacon’s beach in Leucadia, just north of San Diego, for the first day of lobster season when he was attacked by the shark, Larry Giles, marine safety captain for the department, said during a press conference.
The teen was in water about 9 feet deep around 150 to 200 yards away from the beach, according to Giles.
Three “good Samaritans” nearby — an off-duty Oceanside police department officer, an off-duty California state park lifeguard and a friend of theirs — saw the attack and were able to bring the boy back to the beach on a kayak, where they called 911, Giles said.
“When the bystanders got there, he was conscious, he was above water… and he was talking all the way while he was being transported,” Giles said.
“The shark was seen in the water by the bystanders ... it was in the 11-foot range,” he added.
Giles said that Encinitas lifeguards responded to the scene relatively quickly as they were set to go on duty around that time, and immediately began providing basic life support. They were quickly joined by fire department and paramedics.
The boy was airlifted to a local trauma center. His family asked officials not to identify the child, but provided the hospital with a photo of the boy to distribute to media outlets.
After the boy was taken away, lifeguards began warning other people on the beach about the incident.
“The No. 1 concern was public safety; there were multiple other divers in the area,” Giles said, noting that authorities got people out of the water as soon as they could.
Since the incident, there hasn’t been any shark activity, according to Giles. However, he said that as a precaution, area beaches are closed for 48 hours and they’re asking people not to go into the water until it’s deemed safe.