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Great white suspected in fatal Surf Beach attack, beach closed

Photo by lastonein via Flickr Creative Commons

The Associated Press reports a 15-ft. great white shark may be behind the fatal bite that claimed a 39-year-old surfer on Tuesday off Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County. The beach has been closed

Francisco Javier Solorio Jr. died on the scene after suffering a bite to the upper torso in the waters off the California coast near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Shark Research Committee will be studying the teeth marks on the surfboard, and meeting with investigators. 

The presence of great whites is not uncommon for the area, and shark may not have been trying to kill the Orcutt resident, committee member Ralph Collier told the AP.

[The shark] may have mistaken him for prey such as a seal and took a test bite that proved deadly.

The beach, located about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, has been closed by authorities. Two years ago, Lucas Ransom, a 19-year-old surfer was killed in a shark attack at the same beach.