A shark attacked a woman wading in the water with friends in Southern California, tearing off part of her upper thigh.

The attack occurred Saturday near San Onofre State Beach in Camp Pendleton, according to Daily Mail.

"All of the back of her leg was kind of missing," Thomas Williams, who pulled the unidentified woman ashore with his friends Grant Parker, Wade Nevitt and Hunter Robinson, told the Orange County Register.

"If she didn't receive immediate care, it was life-threatening."

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Williams, a 29-year-old from San Clemente who recently passed his EMT training test, said the woman was conscious and talking while onlookers used a rubber surfboard leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

"She was not calm, of course," he said. "But she was coherent."

The beach is adjacent to the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Marine Sergeant Asia Sorenson said the victim - a civilian - was airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla in unknown condition.

The injury was likely caused by a great white or a seven-gill shark, said Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach. Several sharks have been sighted in the area recently.

Nearly a year ago, a woman was bitten by a shark while swimming off Corona del Mar, about 25 miles to the north of the Saturday attack.

Experts estimated the shark was at least 10 feet in length, judging from the bite marks, which spanned her chest, hip and shoulder.

Beachgoer Amber Booth was headed to San Onofre to watch the sunset Saturday with her family when a ranger told her the stretch of ocean was closed because of the shark attack.

Booth, who often surfs at San Onofre, said the incident made her worry about her eight-year-old daughter, who boogie-boards often in the area.

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"There's so many kids in the water at San O," she said. "You don't really want to think about (sharks) when you're out in the water."

The beach was expected to remain closed until Monday.