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Woman attacked by shark while swimming near San Diego

A shark attacked a woman Friday in the Pacific waters north of San Diego, officials said.

The woman was treated at a hospital for puncture and laceration wounds to her upper right thigh, according to Jon Edelbrock, lifeguard chief for the city of Del Mar. She received stitches and is recovering.

The shark may have been a juvenile white shark, Edelbrock said, but officials are waiting for scientists to confirm that. Juvenile white sharks often swim in the waters off Del Mar's shoreline.

A lifeguard spotted the woman and her friend just after 10 a.m. as they were heading back to shore following a mile-plus swim, Edelbrock said. Their strokes changed and the friend was waving his arms for help in the water a few hundred yards from the beach, but outside the surf zone.

Lifeguards, who did not spot the shark, helped the pair back to shore, he said.

The beach is now closed for at least 48 hours under the city's shark bite protocol.

"She had a diligent swim buddy," Edelbrock said. "They both maintained their composure quite well."

Del Mar is about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

An 8-foot-long juvenile white shark washed up dead Sunday on the shores of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Beach, according to KSWB-TV. That's nearly 3 miles south of Friday's attack.

Last month, a man was bitten on the leg by a shark while surfing off Centerville Beach south of Eureka in Northern California. Surgeons stapled shut his open wounds, which spanned nearly 19 inches, or the length of the shark's mouth. 

In June, a man was bitten by a great white shark off the Central California coast. The 62-year-old was released from Natividad Medical Center in Salinas three weeks after the shark bit him as he swam off Pacific Grove near Monterey, the hospital said.

Last Christmas Eve, a 42-year-old Sacramento man was killed in a shark attack in Morro Bay in Central California.

Shark attacks increased around the world in 2021 following three consecutive years of decline, officials said in January. The U.S. reported the most unprovoked shark bites in 2021, with 47 confirmed incidents — 64% of the worldwide total.

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