Contributing Writer
Leeanne Ericson, the victim of Saturday's shark attack at Church surf break.

Leeanne Ericson, the victim of Saturday’s shark attack at Church surf break. Photo: Photo: GoFundMe

The Inertia

Vista resident Leeanne Ericson is fighting for her life at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla after a 10-foot shark attacked her at San Onofre State Beach on Saturday evening. Ericson, a 35-year-old single mother of three young children, was in a medically-induced coma as of Sunday night.

On Sunday, Friends of Ericson’s posted a GoFundMe campaign seeking $200,000, writing:

“She has a long rode [sic] ahead with several surgeries to go. I don’t know how much this will cost but she’s going to need all the help she can get. So I am asking for your help with anything that you can spare to help her and her family. ”

As of Monday morning, the campaign has amassed more than $15,000 from 300 donors.

Ericson was reportedly wading in the water near Church surf break with her boyfriend and friends when the shark tore flesh from her glute and upper leg, and pulled Ericson under the water, drowning her. Witnesses saw a seal moments before the attack. Ericson’s boyfriend, who was surfing, apparently heard her screams and dove into the water after she’d been submerged. He reached her and was able to put her on a surfboard to take her ashore. It is not clear when CPR was performed but she was revived, family friend Laura Smith told the local CBS affiliate in San Diego. One of the surfers used a leash as a tourniquet to slow the bleeding. She was then airlifted to the hospital.

Lifeguards promptly closed the beach one mile north and south of Church, though plenty of surfers decided to take their chances in the water on Sunday. Beaches are expected to re-open on Wednesday.

Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach said the attack was most likely by a great white shark or seven-gill shark.

The incident was the eleventh violent human-shark encounter in the area; the most recent shark attack in San Diego County was in 2010, when a 66-year-old man was killed while swimming off Fletcher Cove, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In an interview with NBC San Diego, her mother Christine McKnerney Leidle said, “I can’t imagine how scared she must have been in that water.”


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