A shark attacked a woman as she swam in the waters off San Onofre State Beach in North San Diego County Saturday evening.
The attack happened shortly after 6 p.m. in a well-known surf spot nearby called Church, north of the power plant near Basilone Road. The location is near Camp Pendleton.
Hunter Robinson, who along with his friends helped rescue the woman, said she was bitten once from her hip to her leg.
"Somebody just yelled 'shark', you know, and like 'shark! My friend got bit!' got us kind of, he was just yelling it on the beach," Robinson told NBC 7.
Camp Pendleton officials confirmed a shark bite victim had been airlifted to a local hospital around 6:30 p.m.
Robinson said that when they found the woman in the water, her friends had her on her surfboard and they were trying to get her onto the sand.
But a low tide and plenty of rocks were hampering their efforts.
"The back of her leg was really badly bit, you know, just to the bone, from above her knee to above to her butt, it was bad," Robinson recalled. "It was a real bite, yeah. I'll never forget it, ever. It was like full what you would imagine in a shark bite."
Good Samaritans rushed to help the woman, pulling her ashore. One of the man had first aid training and used a surf leash to help slow down the bleeding. The woman's rescuers said almost all the muscle in her leg was missing by the time they got her to the shore.
The victim, believed to be in her 30s, reportedly told her rescuers she was having trouble breathing.
Robinson said he is aware there are sharks in the area, but said he has never witnessed anything like this up close.
The woman has not been identified.
San Onofre State Beach is closed for swimmers and surfers until 4:30 a.m. Monday, when lifeguards plan to re-evaluate the waters.
No other information was available.