Researchers: Great white shark attacked 13-year-old boy off Beacon's Beach in Encinitas

Posted at 8:32 AM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 11:32:52-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - The shark that attacked a 13-year-old boy in the waters near Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas last month was determined to be a great white shark.

Dr. Chris Lowe, director of Long Beach State’s Shark Lab, said a forensic analysis of DNA was obtained from Keane Hayes’ wetsuit and testing concluded that a great white was involved in the Sept. 29 incident.

Keane was lobster diving in the early morning hours when he was attacked by the shark. He suffered serious injuries to his back, torso, left arm, shoulder and left side of his face, doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital said.

Keane was released from the hospital on Oct. 4.

Lowe said, "Shark bite incidents are exceedingly rare considering the number of people that use Southern California waters, but people do need to be aware that the fall season is a time when more large juvenile and adult sharks may be moving along the coast.”

According to officials, the laboratory test that was used to analyze the DNA on Keane’s wetsuit is “part of a new procedure that is being developed to detect white shark's environmental DNA in water samples. Environmental DNA, or eDNA, can be found among cellular material left behind by sharks and other animals.”

"While the methods still will require more testing and calibration, this could potentially offer a way for lifeguards and biologists to figure out what species was involved, and whether that species is still in the area," Lowe added.