Experts gather evidence in hopes of identifying shark that attacked boy in Encinitas

Posted at 9:13 AM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 12:13:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Experts are hoping the evidence they’ve gathered will help narrow down the kind of shark that attacked a 13-year-old boy off an Encinitas beach.

Dr. Chris Lowe told 10News he and other experts have researched the Sept. 29 attack off Beacon’s Beach that sent Keane Hayes to the hospital with serious injuries. Lowe said one of the items they are studying is the boy’s wetsuit.

“The main thing we focus on are tooth marks, tooth impressions, and any forensic evidence,” Lowe said.

Lowe and other researchers took shark DNA from the wetsuit and are testing it against ocean water containing shark DNA.

During his investigation, Lowe interviewed Chad Hammel, the man who pulled Keane onto his kayak. Hammel described the shark’s fin to Lowe.

“He did say they were large and triangular, which are that of a white shark. He also noted that the front of the shark was pointy and broader in the body,” said Lowe.

Asked if it was dangerous to be in the water now, Lowe said it was not, as this type of shark attack is rare.

“The fact that people are so rarely bitten, to me, indicates that we’re just not on the menu. They don’t want anything to do with people,” Lowe told 10News.

In Newport Beach and Corona Del Mar, experts are implementing a new device that detects a shark based on how it swims, and it notifies lifeguards via text message.

The device could likely prevent attacks like the incident off Camp Pendleton in 2017 in which a juvenile great white shark bit Leeanne Ericson.

Lowe compared Ericson’s attack to Keane’s experience.

“The size of the shark sounds very familiar to the one in Leeanne's and possibly the one in little Corona the year before,” Lowe said.

Lowe has not spoken to Keane about the attack, but he said talking to the boy will be a big piece in solving the puzzle.

Lowe said he also wants to speak to Keane’s doctor to see if any shark tooth fragments were found.