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Crews search for swimmer following shark attack off Point Reyes in Marin County

Swimmer missing following shark encounter in Marin County
Swimmer missing following shark encounter in Marin County 02:28

BOLINAS -- Authorities said Sunday a person is missing after a reported shark attack off the Marin County coast.

The Coast Guard received a report at 10:40 a.m. of a person who was attacked by a shark and pulled under at Wildcat Beach at the southern end of Point Reyes.

UPDATE: Search resumes for swimmer who may have been attacked by shark off Point Reyes

Marin County firefighters responded and determined that three men who had gone for a swim encountered a shark which attacked one of them. The others swam back to shore and told first responders there was a large pool of blood in the water. The men said that, before the attack, they had been swimming about 25 to 50 yards from the beach.

Senior captain Ben Ghisletta with the Marin County Fire Department spoke to KPIX Sunday afternoon.

"We went to a high point on the campground area above the beach. We were able to observe a good portion of the ocean from there. We had two people with binoculars overseeing the rescue," Ghisletta said. 

Aside from firefighters assisting the search from land, there were two jet skis, a Coast Guard boat and a helicopter looking for the missing swimmer.

"After searching 21 square nautical miles in ideal search conditions, we've been unsuccessfull so far. The intent here is to continue the search," said Rachel Davis, Lt. (j.g.) with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Authorities said the missing swimmer is approximately 50 years old. They did not release his name.

They said the three swimmers were camping with a group of about 10 to 15 people above the beach in an area called Wildcat Campground.

"The further amount of time, it decreases the chance of survivability," said Batt. Chief Todd Overshiner with the Marin County Fire Department.

"These waters are extremely dangerous and most locals know not to go for a swim. There's either a huge drop-off, sharks, rip currents -- very dangerous," said hiker Danielle Harnisch.

Hikers in the area and first responders were all hoping for a positive outcome.

"To my knowledge, yeah, this could be the first fatal shark attack (in the Marin County area). But we're hopeful that he'll be found," Ghisletta said. 

Marin County firefighters said shark attacks are extremely rare in the area. It's not known what type of shark attacked the swimmer.

A search and rescue is underway involving the Marin Fire Department, the National Park Service, the Marin County Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard. 

Shark Attack Map
Shark attack at Wildcat Beach in Marin County KPIX
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