Saturday morning, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office tweeted that a beachgoer was bitten by a great white shark, which was estimated to be between six and eight feet long, prompting the Grey Whale Cove State Beach to close; first responders described the bite as severe.
The Bay Area is no stranger to great white sharks — the largest carnivorous shark species known to science. (Though larger and longer, whale sharks exclusively feed on plankton and pose no threat to neither marine mammals nor humans.) But attacks on people remain extremely uncommon. However, one such rare occurrence transpired Saturday morning around 9:15 a.m. after a swimmer was reported having suffered from a severe shark bite.
At 9:15am, a 35-year-old man was swimming off of Grey Whale Cove State Beach when he was bitten in the right leg by a 6-8 ft. great white shark. The male was able to swim to shore and medical aid was summoned. The male was transported to Stanford.⚠️The beach is now closed.— San Mateo County S.O (@SMCSheriff) June 26, 2021
"The patient was bitten by a small great white shark, he was able to swim to shore with the assistance from bystanders until first responders got there," said San Mateo County Fire District Battalion Chief Brian Ham to ABC7.
A tweeted picture of the rescue shows paramedics on the beach, treating the victim who, despite losing a pint of blood, managed to swim ashore. Once on dry land, on-site first responders applied a tourniquet to his right leg — the extremity where the shark had bitten the man.
INCIDENT UPDATE: Upon arrival at Gray Whale Cove firefighters/paramedics found a male on the beach with a confirmed bite to his body. Patient was treated with advanced life support measures and transported to a local trauma center in serious condition. pic.twitter.com/z3dcy9gTR6— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) June 26, 2021
Due to the prevailing foggy conditions yesterday morning, Ham described the rescue as challenging; helicopters couldn't land in the area due to the not-so-ideal conditions, leaving firefighters to carry the man up a steep stairway, where he was eventually transported to a local hospital for treatment. (While ABC7 notes the man was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, a conflicting report from SFGate writes that the bite victim was checked into the Stanford Hospital.)
In May of 2020, a man died after being bitten by a great white shark at Manresa State Beach in Santa Cruz County — the last fatal shark attack before then happening in 2012. Before that, the last deadly shark attack in the region was in 2012.
While populations of the apex predator are recovering along the West Coast, human beings are responsible for culling an estimated 100 million sharks every year around the world.
Photo: Twitter via @CALFIRECZU