Good Samaritans recall rescuing woman after San Onofre beach shark attack

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
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Good Samaritans who rushed to the aid of a woman who was bit by a shark at San Onofre beach recalled the terrifying moment.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KABC) -- San Onofre beach on Camp Pendleton is expected to remain closed until Wednesday following a shark attack over the weekend, base officials said on Monday.

Leeanne Ericson, 36, was wading in the water Saturday night when a shark, likely a great white, bit her on the upper thigh.

"If any one of us weren't there I think it would have been so much harder," explained Thomas Williams, one of several witnesses who pulled the woman ashore.

"It was to the bone. It was bad," said Hunter Robinson, who was with Williams. "It was just as bad as you could imagine."

Robinson, Williams and several of their friends rushed to help the woman after two surfers helped her to the shore. Seeing how bad the injury was, Robinson grabbed a surfboard leash to create a tourniquet for Ericson's leg.

Williams, who recently passed his EMT test, helped tie the tourniquet to stop the heavy bleeding.

"One of our other friends lifted up her hip and slid it underneath and I just tied it off and held it in place until we got to shore," Williams explained.

Ericson was airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, according to a statement from Camp Pendleton.

The single mother of three has to undergo several surgeries, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help pay her expenses.

The fundraising page, which has a goal of $200,000, had garnered more than $25,000 by Monday evening.

Authorities closed the beach in the vicinity of an area called "Church" and warned residents and visitors to stay out of the water. San Onofre beach was expected to remain closed until Wednesday.

Saturday's attack was only the 11th recorded in the area in the past seven decades, the newspaper reported. The last fatal shark attack in San Diego County was off Fletcher Cove in 2008.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.