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Beachgoers Warned About Great Whites

2 Or 3 Sharks Swimming Near San Onofre

POSTED: 5:09 a.m. EDT September 1, 2003 SAN ONOFRE, Calif -- Surfers and swimmers were warned to stay out of the water at San Onofre State Beach Sunday and Monday as at least a pair of great white sharks continued to swim near shore, according to a report.

There are at least two and maybe three small great whites -- estimated at about 6 feet long -- nuzzling the shore of San Onofre, KNSD-TV reported. They have been spotted for about a week -- and were seen again Saturday.

Still, the beach remained open -- unlike Avila Beach in central California, where a woman recently died from being attacked by a great white almost 20- feet long.

Numerous surfers, however, are undeterred -- as they have been over the last week, according to the Surfline Web site, which has a camera of San Onofre. Packs of wave-riding enthusiasts have said the great whites have brushed surfboards and passed within feet of dangling legs in recent days.

As many as three great whites have been seen swimming off San Onofre State Beach, and Sunday one of them was reportedly videotaped leaping out of the water.

"Definitely we are concerned about the shark," tourist Milton Wheeler said. "You know, definitely we are, but anyways, it's a beautiful day, sunny, parties down there, so we got to go down there."

"We could have went to any beach in San Clemente, but I thought it would be fun to maybe see someone get bit or chased by a shark," shark watcher Will Duel told KNSD-TV.

According to some, the sharks have been attracted to San Onofre due to the lingering smell of a whale that beached there about two years ago. The carcass was buried on shore but pieces of it surfaced last winter.

The Aug. 19 shark attack in central California was the state's first fatal shark attack since 1994. Avila Beach and two other beaches in San Luis Obispo County have been closed through the holiday weekend.

The woman who died at Avila was swimming with seals and clad in a wetsuit and swim fins. Seals are one of the great white's favorite meals.

Copyright 2003 by All rights reserved.

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