North County woman ‘fighting for her life’ after shark attack

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SAN DIEGO -- A mother of three from Vista remained in a medically induced coma Tuesday and "fighting for her life" in a trauma center following a San Onofre-area shark attack in which she lost much of her right leg and nearly drowned.

Leeanne Ericson, 35, was swimming in the surf off the coast of Camp Pendleton about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when a shark tore off the back of her thigh "from her glute to her knee," her mother, Christine McKnerney Leidle, wrote on a page set up to help defray the victim's medical costs.

"She's now in Scripps Memorial Hospital (La Jolla) fighting for her life," McKnerney Leidle wrote.

Ericson, who was placed in a medically induced coma, "has a long (road) ahead with several surgeries to go," her mother stated.

More than $34,000 had been donated to the victim via the web page by Tuesday morning.

Ericson's employer, Pacific Marine Credit Union, is also taking donations.

"She will have a long road to recovery ahead and will need substantial resources to help her family sustain themselves during this difficult journey," bank officials said. Donations can be made at any Pacific Marine Credit Union branch location.

Authorities closed the beach in an area known as "Church" and were warning residents and visitors to stay out of the water. The site was expected to reopen to the public Wednesday morning, according to Camp Pendleton officials.

The attack -- believed to have been carried out by a great white or a sevengill shark -- was only the 11th recorded in the area in the past seven decades. The most recent fatal shark attack in San Diego County was off Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach in 2008.