Friday, April 25, 2008

Shark Attack Update: Solana Beach - First Hand Account

A first-hand account from Chris Ross from this mornings Shark Attack in Solana Beach...

"Since my phone is ringing off the hook, I thought I'd just get a mass email out there letting everybody know what happened this morning as I saw it. I'm not getting anything done today anyway.

I surfed at Pillbox this morning (Fletcher Cove, end of Lomas Santa Fe Dr.) and finished up at about 7:30. I was rinsing off at the showers by the parking lot when a young guy came running up the ramp with a horrible, blank look on his face. All he could really say was that there was a bad shark attack, and someone's legs had been bitten pretty severely. I ran back down to the water to give a heads up to my 2 buddies and the 3 other surfers that were still out catching waves.

Lifeguards rushed over to the victim, who was probably about 65 years old. He had just been pulled onto shore by a couple other swimmers. His legs were torn up from his legs to his thighs, so they did what they could to stop the bleeding.

There were 8 or so swimmers that, earlier that morning, began their group swim right at the bottom of the ramp, then headed north towards the kelp patties and Table Tops, the next broke north. According to one of the guys that pulled the victim out of the water, they were all just swimming along when one of them started screaming in pain and yelling for help. A couple of them rushed over and grabbed him. No one saw the shark, but the size of the bites made it pretty obvious that it was a great white.

Out of respect for the victim, his family and friends, and the other swimmers, it's not my place to go into much detail about what happened after that.....but basically, he was in bad shape and going unconscious by the time he got to shore. Paramedics did everything they could to keep him going....but then all of a sudden everyone stopped what they were doing and I realized there was nothing left they could do for him. By the time the life flight helicopter got there it was too late.

This all happened right in front of me. I'm sure the other swimmers & surfers are shaken up like I am. It legitimately could have been any of us, but I guess it was this man's time. It's scary when something like that happens this close to home, let alone right in front of you. Shark attacks in San Diego, not to mention fatal ones, just don't happen. Once every decade or two, maybe. It's been a surreal day to say the least." - Chris Ross


  1. I commend you for your restraint in describing the aftermath, and the respect that showed for the victims family.

    I wonder (as I'm not any kind of expert) if swimming in groups might be more dangerous than swimming alone. Just thinking that it seems to more closely mimic pinniped activity.

    Prayers for the victim, and those affected by what happened today.

  2. I'd like to echo douglas' comments.

    I was there in those condos. Swimming in the same place in mid-March.