SAN DIEGO – Lifeguards closed a two-mile stretch of water off Mission Beach after spotting an 18-inch dorsal fin Thursday.
The dorsal fin was seen around 12:30 p.m. near Tower 15, prompting lifeguards to close the waters one mile in each direction, Lt. Nick Lerma said.
Ten-year lifeguard veteran Todd Rice said he was paddleboarding about 70 yards off Mission Beach when he spotted the fin.
“I was scared, obviously; it’s a pretty big fish,” said Rice, who said he’s seen two great white sharks off the coast of San Diego before. He has also scuba dived for 20 years.
“I know what I saw and I’m pretty in tuned with my environment in which I work,” said Rice.
Rice said he watched it for a couple seconds as it swam north about 100 yards off the beach. Rice then took the first wave he could fine to warn the public. The water along a two-mile stretch near Mission Beach was immediately evacuated, and the sighting kicked off a massive search by rescue boats and helicopters.
Lifeguards searched the ocean with the help of a San Diego Fire-Rescue helicopter but no other sightings were reported, Lerma said.
“It’s not uncommon. It has happened several times this year. We’ve already had to activate our SOP for shark sightings about two or three times,” said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma.
Lifeguards estimate a great white shark with an 18-inch dorsal fin is probably between 10- and 15-feet long. Rice said making sure no one was hurt was his first priority.
The area will remain closed for the rest of Thursday but will be open Friday morning, Lerma said.
Your damn right it better open back up on Friday morning… it’s the freakin’ weekend, we’re about to have us some fun. What the hell, San Diego? You sally. We’re better than this, we’re freaking out over a shark? News flash: it’s the ocean. There are sharks everywhere. Dude saw this 70 yards away? Almost a football field away and this dude says, yeah, about 18 inches on the dorsal fin. Okay? How could you know that? This is stupid. Whatever. Mission Beach sucks anyway. If I go to the beach, it’s PB or La Jolla, period. Mission Beach… pfft. Seriously, how stoked is the kid snorkeling that got his remote control shark to shut down all of Mission Beach? Mission Beach is gonna need to secede from the San Diego nation if it keeps it up with this pansy crap.