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from The San Francisco Chronicle


Stinson closed after 2nd shark sighting

Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, June 6, 2002

San Francisco -- A 12-foot shark was seen lurking in the waters off Stinson Beach, prompting National Park Service officials to extend the ban on swimming and surfing that went into effect after a shark attack last week.

The beast was spotted through binoculars from a lifeguard tower on the southern portion of the beach about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It was swimming about 100 yards offshore, said Roger Scott, spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which controls that portion of Stinson.

"We hope this isn't the start of a trend," Scott said. "Because of the severity of the attack last week, we have to monitor this and err on the side of caution."

The sighting came only four days after a 12- to 14-foot shark bolted out of the water on the northern end of the beach, near the mouth of the Bolinas Lagoon, and grabbed Lee Fontan, a 24-year-old Bolinas landscaper and lifelong surfer.

Fontan was pulled from the water by fellow surfers and needed 100 stitches to close four deep gashes. Fontan is in good condition and will be released from the hospital in the next few days.

The National Park Service barred anyone from going in the water past their knees at Stinson Beach and on Wednesday extended that restriction for an additional five days, ending Monday.

Scott said the shark was spotted by a man who had climbed up into the tower.

The man, purportedly a former lifeguard and commercial diver, told officials that he saw the shark's dorsal fin and tail emerge from the water for 6 to 10 seconds two separate times.

"There's a lot of 'em out there. But normally we don't start seeing them until July and August," Scott said.

©2002 San Francisco Chronicle

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