Diver unhurt when shark bites through his wetsuit off La Jolla

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

Three divers had a close encounter with what was believed to be a sevengill shark near La Jolla’s Children’s Pool on June 6, San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum said Wednesday.

One of them was attacked, with the shark’s teeth cutting through his wetsuit, though he was not injured.

Justin Schlaefli, 28, posted on SharkAttackSurvivors.com that he “(felt) this sudden pressure and movement on my calf. I looked down and the shark had my calf in its mouth and bit down three times. This is the strange part: I am not sure if it was because the shark had realized it had missed the calico (its obvious target) or because it tasted neoprene, but the shark was biting me a bit like a dog who is playing with you and bites your hand.”

The incident occurred “about 2:30 p.m. when three divers were involved in spearfishing right at the wall at Children’s Pool,” said Lerum. “They had caught some fish and had them on their belts and were bringing them back about 50 feet off the wall when they believe they saw a sevengill shark come by and went to grab the fish.”

Lerum said the diver reported the shark “took a chunk out of his wetsuit,” but added he was not seriously injured.

“His friend shot the shark and the fish swam away causing his spear gun to be ripped out of his hand,” Lerum said. “They came to the beach to tell the lifeguards because they wanted them to be looking out for the spear gun.”

San Diego Channel 6’s website identified the diver whose wetsuit was bitten as Justin Schlaefli, 28. Another of the divers was identified as Roman Castro, 30, of Mission Valley.

Lerum said lifeguards believe it is likely the shark involved was a sevengill because of its markings described by the divers, and because it is a species known to be somewhat aggressive.

The number of local sightings of sevengills has increased, said Lerum, though he wasn’t sure that was because there are more of them or because water users are more aware they’re out there and are looking out for them.

Related posts:

  1. City Council votes 6-0 to ban dogs at Children’s Pool
  2. Northern Division chief works closely with communities
  3. Seal ‘wars’ continue at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool
  4. Appeal of year-round rope barrier at Children’s Pool is Dec. 9
  5. Divers pulled from water off La Jolla

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=43370

Posted by Dave Schwab on Jun 8, 2011. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “Diver unhurt when shark bites through his wetsuit off La Jolla”

  1. Seal Team 6

    Who said that seals don't attracted sharks… The city of San Diego has been put on notice before this attack. This time you got lucky!

    • James

      That's ridiculous! There have always been sharks and there have always been seals! The dude had shark bait tide to his waist! Come on man don't try and use shark paranoia to push your Children's pool Cause!

  2. Ryan

    a point can definitely be argued that more sharks will frequent an area with high seal population… since these sharks eat seals. The seal population in this area exploded in the mid-90's after Sea World used this location as an injured seal rehabilitation re-entry to their natural habitat. It's a wonder there aren't more shark interactions in this area. Those who frequently use the water certainly have documented an increase in sightings over the years.

    • James

      It's like you didn't read the article!

      "The number of local sightings of sevengills has increased, said Lerum, though he wasn’t sure that was because there are more of them or because water users are more aware they’re out there and are looking out for them."

      You are just making up a theory on a possible increase of sharks. There is no proof to substantiate your claim!

      What we do actually know is that a guy with shark bait tied to him had a shark take the bait!

      We don't even know if it was a seal eating shark. There are lots of sharks in the ocean not all of them can eat a seal.

      Please don't make up things.

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