Newport Beach

Stretch of Newport Beach Closed After Shark Attack on Memorial Day Weekend

A stretch of the shoreline at Corona del Mar State Beach in Southern California remained closed Monday after a swimmer was bitten in a shark attack, lifeguards and city officials said.

No ocean access will be allowed until at least Tuesday morning in the section of Newport Beach that stretches from the Balboa Pier south to the city's border with Crystal Cove State Beach, officials said. The latest closure is a change from Sunday's three-mile closure.

Newport Beach police said they received reports that a woman swimming in the water was bitten at Corona del Mar State Beach around 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Lifeguards found the woman in distress in the water about 150 yards off shore, and they pulled her out to find large bites on her upper torso and shoulder, Newport Beach City spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said.

She was conscious and breathing when she was taken to a nearby hospital. Police could not comment on the extent of her injuries.

The woman was described as an experienced swimmer.

The wounds were consistent with shark bites, Finnigan said in a statement released from the city. 

Officials, however, said they could not find a shark in the water when the attack happened. Rob Williams, a lifeguard with Newport Beach Fire, at one point said it was possible the animal bite may have come from a sea lion.

A three-mile stretch from Newport Pier to Corona del Mar beach was closed after the attack Sunday. The water was evacuated, and the stretch of beach was to remain closed for 24 hours, Newport Beach Lifeguard Captain John Moora said. 

As NewsChopper4 flew overhead the beach, the shoreline was packed with Memorial Day weekend beachgoers.

Corona del Mar State Beach is a popular place for swimmers, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. 

A shark sighting in October of 2015 shut down a stretch of the beach near Newport Pier. In that sighting, an 8-foot shark was spotted along the coast. Newport Beach Pier is about 5 miles north of Corona del Mar State Beach.

A month prior in September 2015, a hammerhead was caught on camera acting aggressively toward a kayaker.

The warm weather may draw more sharks to the Southern California coast, experts said in a previous report.

NBC4's Marin Austin contributed to this report.

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