HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Lifeguards Saturday morning reopened waters in Huntington Beach after a surfer was “bumped” by a shark.
The encounter prompted a two-mile stretch from Beach Boulevard to the Huntington Beach Pier and from Beach Boulevard south of Magnolia Avenue onto Huntington State Beach.
“We had an incident yesterday at 8:45 [a.m.] involving a surfer that was sitting on his board at Beach Boulevard and he actually got bumped by a shark, and based on our protocol that’s defined as an aggressive behavior,” Lt. Claude Panis told CBS2/KCAL9.
Lt. Panis said lifeguards took the precautionary step of shutting the beach to swimmers a mile in either direction.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Joy Benedict reports signs were posted every 50-75 yards to warn swimmers and surfers not to enter the water, although some failed to see the notices.
Lifeguards were on patrol asking anyone in the water to get out during the closure.
“Yeah, it makes sense now,” surfer Casey Willax said of the sparsely-populated beach early Saturday morning. “Sharks — that’s there home. It’s not our home. We’re entering their territory,” he added.
Waters were reopened at 8 a.m. after officials failed to spot the shark after the encounter.
“We had a rescue boat go by and search the area. We had a personal watercraft. We also called the police helicopter over to do a fly-by and never once did we see the shark so we think he swam off after the incident,” Lt. Panis said.
Lifeguards are still warning people to use caution whenever they enter the water.
“It’s safe, but with that said the ocean is a wilderness and if you go in any kind of wilderness area you may see a wild animal, a shark, or if you go to a forest, you may see a bear,” Lt. Panis said. “If you see a wild animal keep your distance.”