When surfer Tom Lochtefled spotted a shark Friday morning at Mission Beach, he didn’t hear the ominous baseline of the Jaws theme song, nor did he scream in horror as the shark approached.
It was just another fish in the sea.
“It was eight in the morning, I paddled out surfing. I was out waiting for the next set [of waves]. As I look out there's a light grey color fin.”
“I thought, ‘I don't need to be here.’ So I just turned around and paddled in.”
Lochtefled’s reaction was reasonable, lifeguards said.
“This is a very unusual event to see that close to the surface,” said Lt. John Everhart of the San Diego lifeguards. “The actions we're taking are purely precautionary.”
When Lochtefled reported the shark sighting, lifeguards immediately got everyone out of the water, and closed the beach from south mission beach jetty to tower 19.
Swimmers understood, noting there were other ways to spend the day – bicycling, walking, swimming, to name a few.
Though for resident Elijah Lopez, there was still a bit of frustration.
“I’m a little disappointed! I wanted to go out and swim today – go and wrestle me a shark get up in them gills, those eyes, tear a new one.”
Another resident took a more peaceful approach to the situation.
“This is their home, it's not ours, and they're doing what they do naturally,” said Shyrlene Plattor.
Swimmers as well as lifeguards said people need to keep shark sightings in perspective.
“It's part of life you know, it happens,” Lochtefled said. “There are so many sharks you just got to deal with it. The likelihood [of getting attacked] is so remote.”