News Releases - Non-fatal shark incident confirmed at Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas and Updates

DATE: Wednesday, October 10, 2018

TIME: 7:30 a.m.

Forensic analysis of DNA obtained from the wetsuit of a freediver who survived a recent shark attack near Encinitas confirmed the involvement of a white shark, Long Beach State University Shark Lab Director Dr. Chris Lowe said.

Laboratory results obtained Friday provided conclusive evidence that a white shark was involved in the incident, which took place on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 29, in the waters near Beacon’s Beach. Eyewitness accounts had previously suggested the probability of a white shark’s involvement.

Lowe has been assisting Encinitas’ lifeguards since the day of the incident, helping to identify the species of shark involved and providing information related to white shark movements and behavior that may help lifeguards prevent future incidents.

“Shark bite incidents are exceedingly rare considering the number of people that use southern California waters, but people do need to be aware that the fall season is a time when more large juvenile and adult sharks may be moving along the coast,” Dr. Lowe said.

The laboratory test used confirmed the presence of white shark DNA and is similar to the method that is a part of a new procedure that is being developed to detect white shark’s environmental DNA in water samples. Environmental DNA, or eDNA, can be found among cellular material left behind by sharks and other animals.

A species-specific test would enable lifeguards to detect which sharks have been near the coastline by testing samples of ocean water collected near the shoreline. This method would augment existing techniques, such as aerial surveillance or monitoring tagged animals, for monitoring shark activity along beaches.

“While the methods still will require more testing and calibration, this could potentially offer a way for lifeguards and biologists to figure out what species was involved, and whether that species is still in the area,” Dr. Lowe said.

Dr. Lowe is a co-author of a new research paper, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, explaining the promise of environmental DNA tests. Researchers working for the U.S. Geological Survey, UC Santa Barbara and Central Michigan University also collaborated on the research.

The City of Encinitas has been informed by the 13-year-old teen’s family that he is now at home recovering.

Questions regarding the species of the shark should be directed to Long Beach State University’s Office of Public Affairs team: Lauren Williams at [email protected] / (562) 985-1727 or Andrew Edwards at [email protected] / (562) 985-8207.


DATE: Monday, October 01, 2018

TIME: 11:30 a.m.

A press conference has been scheduled to be on Monday, October 1 at 1:30 p.m. in the Beacon's Beach parking lot area for updates regarding the non-fatal shark incident which occurred on Saturday morning.


DATE: Monday, October 01, 2018

TIME: 8:00 a.m.

Beacon’s Beach and the surrounding areas (La Costa Avenue to Swami’s Beach) have been re-opened as of 7 a.m. on Monday, October 1. There have not been any official or public shark sightings in Encinitas since the non-fatal shark incident on Saturday morning. The unified command will still patrol the area throughout the week with lifeguard boats and trucks, City of Carlsbad Police Department aerial surveillance, and County Sheriff’s Department support.

Marine biologist Dr. Chris Lowe from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) received samples to identify the type of shark involved in this incident and we are currently awaiting the lab results.


DATE: Sunday, September 30, 2018

TIME: 12:00 p.m.

The beach advisory is still expected to continue until 7 a.m. on Monday, October 1st. There have been no official shark activities or sightings in Encinitas since the incident. The unified command is actively continuing to monitor the area with lifeguard towers open and aerial surveillance.

We continue to keep the teen and his family in our thoughts. The City would also like to thank the public for your cooperation and for staying out of the water at this time. Please report all suspicious activities or shark sightings to the City of Encinitas Lifeguard Headquarters at (760) 633-2750. Emergencies should still be directed to 911.


DATE: Saturday, September 29, 2018

TIME: 7:06 p.m.

A media briefing has been scheduled to be on Sunday, September 30 at 7 a.m. in the Beacon's Beach parking lot area.


DATE: Saturday, September 29, 2018

TIME: 4:30 p.m.

ENCINITAS, CA – The non-fatal shark incident continues to be an active situation. The unified command team is actively working to monitor the waters where the incident occurred. At this time, there are no additional sightings related to this non-fatal shark incident. The City is also working with Dr. Chris Lowe from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to determine the shark species.

There have not been any official updates received on the teen’s conditions. Our thoughts and hearts continue to be him and his family at this time.

The public is asked to not displace the advisory signs on the beach as they are placed on the beach to advise the public to stay away from the water and to keep our residents and visitors safe. The City of Carlsbad Police Department will be flying drones around the area to identify shark sightings and ask that personal drones to not be in use in the area at this time. The County Sheriff’s Department will also continue to patrol the incident area. The beach advisory is expected to continue until Monday morning 7 a.m. unless there are other shark activities in the area.

Updates will be released as new information is received.


DATE: Saturday, September 29, 2018

TIME: 12:50 p.m.

ENCINITAS, CA – Encinitas Lifeguard Captain Larry Giles confirmed this morning that a non-fatal shark incident took place around 6:55 a.m. at Beacon’s Beach, 940 Neptune Avenue, Leucadia. Lifeguards responded immediately and began administering first aid to the victim, a 13-year-old male skin diver who was participating in the opening day of lobster season. The victim was air lifted to a local hospital shortly thereafter.

Officials have closed the beach for the next 48 hours from La Costa Avenue to Swami’s Beach in Encinitas. Signs are posted along the beach alerting the public of the incident. A lifeguard patrol boat and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department aerial surveillance is underway in the area. No shark activity has been witnessed since the incident took place. In addition, all lifeguard towers are open and staffed to monitor the beaches.

“We are working closely as a unified command with the California State Parks, California Fish and Game, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, City of Solana Beach and the City of Carlsbad to ensure public safety,” said Giles. “At this time, we have not received additional reports of any shark sightings in the area but are advising the public to stay out of the water.”

The team is working with a marine scientist to determine the type of shark that caused the injury.

"Our hearts and thoughts are with the victim and his family during this time," Fire Chief Stein stated in the news conference this morning.

Updates on the incident will be posted on this webpage, and a media briefing will be held this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Beacon’s Beach parking lot.

For more information, please contact City of Encinitas Public Information Officer Lois Yum at (714) 833-8335.