UPDATE @ 10:50am (Monday): The city has released a news brief clarifying that while they do suspect it was a shark bite, they could not locate a shark to confirm it was in the area. “We do suspect the victim was bitten by a shark, but haven’t been able to confirm that because we had no other witnesses and there was no reported shark sighting before the incident or after,” explained Chief Lifeguard Rob Williams of the Newport Beach Fire Department’s Marine Operations Division. “We are treating this as a shark-bite incident and are asking everyone to please stay out of the water in the closure area. We’ve resumed our search of the water by boat this morning and a police helicopter will be also helping us.” The city also officially confirmed the closure of ocean access from Newport Pier to Crystal Cove State Park. You can still hang out on the sandy beach, but ocean access is prohibited due to the nature of the incident and the types of injuries received.
UPDATE @8:06am (Monday): The woman who was bitten was said to be an experienced swimmer in her 50s, with the bite happening about 300 – 450 feet out to sea from Tower 4, outside of the swim zone. No additional details are available at this time.
UPDATE @8:19pm (Sunday): The injuries sustained have been labeled “substantial” by authorities who are treating the patient. If Newport Lifeguards had not been so quick to respond, the injuries could have easily cost the swimmer her life. The bite measured from her neck to her waistline and also removed a substantial portion of her arm in the triceps area. The beach will be closed until tomorrow afternoon/evening in accordance to the 24hr closure policy for shark attacks, and is currently closed from Newport Pier to CdM.
At 4:17pm on Sunday, a victim called for medical attention from the CdM State Beach. She was taken to the hospital and lifeguard officials are saying that the injury was “potentially caused by an animal”, although no sharks were immediately seen in the vicinity. As a precaution, the state beach has now been closed.
This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.