Shark bites 46-year-old man in California during group swimming

A 46-year-old man in California was hospitalized with injuries “believed not to be life-threatening” after being bitten by a shark during a group swim on the morning of Sunday, June 2.

According to a press release from the city of Del Mar, the shark attack occurred at about 9 a.m. local time and 100 yards offshore from the city's Beach Safety Center on 17th Street. At the time, the victim was training with about a dozen swimmers who meet regularly.

An ambulance took him to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was treated for his injuries, which included “bites to the upper torso, left arm and hand.” The injuries were considered “serious but not life-threatening,” according to city officials.

Beaches within a mile in either direction of the encounter were later closed to both swimming and surfing. The closures, which will remain in effect until 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, were done in accordance with protocols set by the California Marine Safety Chiefs Association and the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach, the city said.

Woman watches lifeguards passing by on a boat in Del Mar, California.

Hayne Palmour IV/Shutterstock

Jon Edelbrock, Del Mar's director of community services and chief lifeguard, told CNN that friends of the victim helped him get to shore. He sustained “obvious injuries from the incident that required surgery, primarily large lacerations.”

Shark Lab researchers later determined the man had most likely been bitten by a juvenile great white shark after taking water samples and analyzing the man's wetsuit for possible DNA, director Chris Lowe told the outlet.

Lowe added that researchers hope to eventually deploy a tool that will allow them to later determine if the affected shark can be located in the area. He also said shark bites are rare in the area.

“What's interesting is that we've been monitoring this location because it's known as a gathering place for juvenile fish,” he told CNN. “We've tagged over 60 sharks there over the years and they're spotted regularly. Today we spotted four.”

“Sharks are known to avoid humans, but every now and then they make mistakes,” the director added. “It is possible that the shark involved in this incident was literally just passing through and had no opportunity to encounter humans.”

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According to NBC News, citing information from the National Data Buoy Center, the attack occurred under relatively normal conditions for June – with 3-foot-high waves and a water temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Citing the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File, the source also reported that there were two unprovoked shark attacks in California in 2023, one of them fatal. The data also showed that San Diego County's Del Mar area has had 20 unprovoked attack incidents since 1926, leading the nation.