Beach closed due to potential shark attack

Posted at 5:19 AM, May 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-30 18:43:22-04
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- A stretch of Newport Beach will remain closed to swimmers Monday as officials attempt to determine what left a woman with bloody bites on her body while in the water off Corona del Mar.

No ocean access will be allowed in the section of Newport Beach that stretches from the Balboa Pier south to the city's border with Crystal Cove State Beach, said Newport Beach spokeswoman Tara Finnigan. The latest closure is a change from Sunday's closure area that extended from Corona del Mar State Beach to Newport Pier.

Newport Beach lifeguards and police will be evacuating anyone who enters the water in this area, Finnigan said.

"We've resumed our search of the water by boat this morning and a police helicopter will be also helping us," said Chief Lifeguard Rob Williams of the Newport Beach Fire Department's Marine Operations Division.

A lifeguard rescue boat was on patrol at 4:15 p.m. Sunday when lifeguards noticed a female swimmer in distress about 150 yards offshore from Corona del Mar State Beach, Finnigan said.

"A veteran lifeguard says he saw bite marks on her torso," she said. The woman was conscious and talking as she was taken to O.C. Global Medical Center. Finnigan did not have an update on the victim's condition Monday.

"We do suspect the victim was bitten by a shark, but haven't been able to confirm that because we had no other witnesses and there was no reported shark sighting before the incident or after," Williams added. "We are treating this like a shark-bite incident and are asking everyone to please stay out of the water in the closure area."