The woman attacked by a shark over the weekend off San Onofre
State Beach was identified by friends as Leeanne Ericson, a
mother of three who was camping off the military base, according
to news reports.
The shark attack – which tore away parts of her leg – happened
around 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the remote, cobblestone beach just
south of San Clemente in San Diego County. Meanwhile, San
Onofre, San Clemente State and San Clemente City beaches remain
A spokesperson from Scripps Medical Center in San Diego said
Ericson is still in critical condition.
According to friend Laura Smith, Ericson loved the ocean and
joined her boyfriend in the water, according to a report by CBS
“She was swimming, he was surfing and I guess he heard her
scream when he was on the board,” Smith, a family friend, said
in the report. “He jumped and dove off the board and went
looking for her and found her on the bottom and brought her up
on the surfboard.
“If it wasn’t for him, she wouldn’t be alive,” she said.
Others jumped in to help, including a surfer who saw Ericson’s
boyfriend struggling to bring her to shore. A group of friends
playing beach games also rushed over to help, including San
Clemente resident Thomas Williams, who recently passed his EMT
training test. One friend suggested they use a surf leash as a
tourniquet, and they tied it around her thigh to ease the
“It was definitely to the point her hamstring was gone,” said
Williams, a few hours after the attack. “If she didn’t receive
immediate care, it was life-threatening.”
“All of the back of her leg was kind of missing.”
The injury was likely caused by a great white or a seven-gill
shark, said Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California
State University, Long Beach.
In the CBS 8 report, Smith said doctors stabilized Ericson, but
she remains in a medically induced coma.
“There are three little girls that are quite nervous and anxious
and it’s going to be a shock,” said Smith. “And the long run
regardless of the bills – the bills are going to be that much
more pressure on everything.”
The family is raising money on GoFundMe for Ericson’s medical
Local beaches will likely be closed through Wednesday morning.