Wednesday, May 10, 2017

15 sharks spotted by Orange County Sheriff’s helicopter near beachgoers prompts warning from the sky: ‘Exit the water in a calm manner’

A video shot from an Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter gives an overhead view of great white sharks hanging around near shore in Capistrano Beach as officers warn paddleboarders and swimmers near the surfline.

“Lifeguards are asking we let you know … you are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks,” Deputy Brian Stockbridge said in the video shot at 1:53 p.m. on Wednesday above the Dana Point beach. “They are advising you exit the water in a calm manner. The sharks are as close as the shoreline.”

The sharks were spotted from Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, south to San Onofre State Beach, where a woman was bitten by a shark April 29. The area was also put under shark advisory, according to an announcement by Camp Pendleton.

OC Lifeguards Chief Jason Young said there were two reports in the Capo Beach area. In addition to the sheriff’s helicopters, there were secondary reports from people on the beach who saw a shark breach.

“The report we got from the sheriff’s was very similar to the reports we’ve had before with the juveniles in the area at Beach Road,” he said. “We had dropped the advisory as of yesterday and put it back on today.”

Young said it was not an ocean closure, which occurs when sharks are more than 8-foot long and/or are acting aggressively in the water.

“We haven’t had any reports of anyone being bumped or charged, just observations of them either swimming or breaching,” he said.

It’s not the first video of the sharks hanging around the area, with local photographers flying drones over the water at Capo Beach in recent weeks to capture footage. These sharks are thought to be attracted to the area because it’s a “hot spot,” similar to one in Long Beach where a dozen or so have been seen in recent days.  There also has been video showing sharks breaching at nearby Lower Trestles, south of where the video was shot Wednesday.

In the latest video, sheriffs are heard discussing and contacting local lifeguards about issuing a warning over the loudspeakers.

“We have paddleboarders and swimmers in the water and we have an excess of about 15 sharks in the surfline. Do you want us to make any announcements?” one asked. “We have some people real close to some of the larger ones.”

The person heard on the video estimated some of the sharks were 10 feet and longer.

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