A 13-year-old boy diving for lobsters has been attacked by a shark off a beach in California.
The youngster suffered multiple bites after the 7am attack which happened in about 9 feet of water, 150 yards offshore at Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas.
Other divers, including an off duty police officer and off-duty life guard, came to the boy’s aid.
He was then flown by a helicopter that landed on the beach to the Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.
The boy underwent surgery and was in critical but stable condition more than nine hours later, the hospital said.
One of his rescuers Chad Hamel, who was out with a group of friends diving for lobsters, told NBC7 the youngster yelled: “I got bit!!
“I paddled to and there was a big wake of blood behind him. His entire back was open.”
Lifeguard Captain Larry Giles said the unnamed boy suffered traumatic upper torso injuries
“Emergency responders arrived, and the boy was flown by helicopter to the trauma center.
“He was conscious, he was above water, and the bystanders were able to get him up on the beach.
“He was talking all the way to when he was being transported,
Giles praised the rescuers who he said gave a “tremendous amount of aid to that young man.”
Witnesses estimated the shark was about 11 feet long, but the type was not known, he said.
In the immediate hours after the attack, there was no sign of shark activity or signs of typical prey such as seals, dolphins and porpoises, although a seal was reported in the area earlier, he added.
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After the attack lifeguards immediately turned to clearing people out of the water.
They included several other divers searching for lobsters on what was the first day of the lobster fishing season.
The waters off about four miles of beach were ordered closed for 48 hours, and a nearby surfing competition was cancelled before it got underway.
The most recent fatal shark attack in the area was in 2008 when a swimmer was killed at Solana Beach.