Shark Bites Free Diver at Refugio

Thursday Morning Attack Closes Beach Temporarily

An estimated 6- to 8-foot shark bit a free-diving spearfisherman on the foot Thursday morning about 100 yards offshore of Refugio State Beach, according to California State Park Superintendent Eric Hjelstrom. The attack occurred before 9 a.m., while the diver was hunting in the cove and his friend was swimming nearby. “At first he thought it was just his friend pulling his leg,” Hjelstrom said.

The shark reportedly injured the diver’s foot and ripped off his swim fin. The diver then fended off the shark by pushing it away with his speargun, capturing the interaction with a small waterproof camera. Hjelstrom was not able to release details about the diver’s identity but did say his injury was “not life-threatening.” The spearfisherman reportedly swam to the beach and drove himself to the hospital, stopping at the park kiosk on his way out to mention the attack.

The temporary closure of the beach was lifted at noon on Friday, September 2. The campground is fully booked for Labor Day Weekend.

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