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Great white shark attack causes Santa Cruz to issue 4-day ocean ban

In this Sept. 14, 2004, file photo, a great white shark swims at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Outer Bay Exhibit in Monterey, Calif. Swimmers and surfers today are about 90 percent less likely to be attacked by sharks off Californias coast than they were in the 1950s, despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of more people in the water, according to a new study.
In this Sept. 14, 2004, file photo, a great white shark swims at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Outer Bay Exhibit in Monterey, Calif. Swimmers and surfers today are about 90 percent less likely to be attacked by sharks off Californias coast than they were in the 1950s, despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of more people in the water, according to a new study. Associated Press File

A great white shark attacked a kayaker who was paddling beyond the kelp bed on the west side of Santa Cruz on Tuesday.

In response, the city of Santa Cruz will order people to stay out of the ocean for four days in a 1-mile radius of coastline between the San Lorenzo River mouth and Fair Avenue, according to a press release from the city. All water activities will be banned until sunrise on Saturday.

The city will also order all kayak rental shops and surf schools to close until Saturday, according to SFGate.com.

The kayaker, Steve Lawson, felt something nudge his kayak at 11 a.m. Tuesday. When he looked down, he saw a great white shark was the source of the nudge he felt. The shark then attacked his kayak by biting into the front of his kayak, throwing Larson into the water.

Lawson used a marine radio to alert the harbor patrol that he needed help, and was rescued on a harbor patrol boat, escaping the incident unharmed, according to SFGate.com.

Tuesday’s incident wasn’t the first shark sighting in the area either. Another great white shark was spotted during the Jack O’Neill memorial paddleout on Sunday. A few surfers witnessed a 15-foot great white shark breach the surface, according to SFGate.com.

“Attacks like these are extremely rare in Santa Cruz County, and we are so thankful that the kayaker was uninjured,” Santa Cruz fire chief Jim Frawley said in the press release. “This is a reminder that swimming in the ocean does carry some risk and we encourage all swimmers, surfers, and kayakers to be mindful of their surroundings and follow directions of lifeguards and Marine Safety staff.”

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