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Orange County Beach To Add Early Warning Shark Detection

CORONA DEL MAR (CBS LA) -- Seismologists are trying to perfect an early warning system for earthquakes.

According to a recent report by CBS LA reporter Michele Gile, such a system already exists for sharks and is coming to the Southern California community of Corona del Mar.

It probably helps that the area is represented in Congress by long-time surf enthusiast Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

The Congressman says his surfboard has been bumped by sharks on a few occasions. To that end, he and other partners — like the city of Newport Beach — want to bring the warning system to Orange County.

Once a shark has been detected, a warning signal in real time is sent to all the lifeguard towers in the area.

An Australian shark warning system is coming to the same beach in Corona del Mar where triathlete Maria Korcmaros was bitten last year by a 10-foot great white shark.

She showed Gile a huge bite mark on her arm.

"The other huge bite is on my back," she said. "So that's part of my lat. And he actually took a chunk out of there."

Rohrabacher says the technology will be tested along the coast in Orange County. The area has been a hot spot for sharks over the past few years.

"What we want to do is prove the technology works," he said.

Buoys equipped with sonar will float in the ocean off Big Corona to not only detect but to measure a shark's size.

"If a big shark comes into that area, the sonar devices will alert the lifeguard and the lifeguard will be able to get everybody out of the water."

Korchmaros had no warning as she swam off of Big Corona on Memorial Day weekend in 2016. The Corona woman who's made a remarkable recovery has competed in six triathlons since. She told Gile from her vacation in Canada the shark alert system — if reliable — is great news.

"It can be valuable information for swimmers and anyone else in the water, so that we know what's in there. And how we can take precautions to avoid problems like I had," said Korchmaros.

Rohrabacher said the pilot program at the beach would cost as much as $2 million.

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