Scientists believe great white shark bit boy in Encinitas

Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 21:49:24-04

ENCINITAS, CALIF. (KGTV) - Experts are close to officially determining what species of shark bit a teenage boy in Encinitas, but add they have a feeling as to which type was involved.

Keane Hayes, 13, is expected to make full recovery after being bitten while lobster diving Saturday morning.

A kayaker rescued him and brought him to shore.

“The injuries that I saw were very severe,” said Marine Biologist Andrew Nosal, “there’s really no other species in Southern California they could do that kind of damage except for a white shark.”

Nosal is a researcher with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and says lifeguards sent him photos of the boy injuries after the attack to help determine what kind of shark it was.

“As a father of two it was just really hard to look,” added Nosal.

Nosal says witness accounts hint at a larger juvenile white shark, which can spend a month or more at a particular beach before moving locations.

That’s also when they’re transitioning from eating fish to marine mammals” said Nosal, “and that’s when they tend to be more dangerous to people in the water.”

Dr. Chris Lowe runs the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach and says they are currently testing some of the boy’s wetsuit for shark DNA which could forensically prove what kind of shark was involved.

“Obviously my heart goes out to the boy and his family but there’s a lot that needs to be known,” said Lowe.

The Shark Lab is also using the same DNA techniques to test water from beaches to determine if great white sharks are nearby.

“This could be a tool that lifeguards could use after an incident,” said Lowe, “the data is enticing but it needs some fine tuning before it’s used more.”

Scientist says they expect to get the results back on the type of shark sometime this week.