A man on a boogie board was killed by a shark off the coast of central California on Friday.
A 31-year-old man was pronounced dead Friday morning due to a shark attack off the coast of Morro Bay in what is believed to be San Luis Obispo County’s first such fatality in 18 years.
County officials are in the process of contacting family members before releasing the man’s identity, said Eric Endersby, Morro Bay harbor patrol director.
The man appeared to be a bodyboarder, Endersby said. The man was initially aided by a nearby female surfer, who paddled over to help.
The attack happened around 10:40 a.m. at a Morro Bay beach known as “The Pit,” according to KSBY.
The shark bite appeared to be from a Great white shark, first responders told the outlet.
The victim had not been identified, and his age was unknown, the station said.
Swimmers and surfers were banned from going into the water for the next 24 hours, according to the report.
It appeared to be the first reported fatal shark attack of the year in the US
Endersby said she does not appear to be related, and it’s unknown whether she saw the attack.
The man was dragged to the beach by the surfer. Fire and police reached the scene at 10:48 a.m., Endersby said, and paramedics declared the bodyboarder dead.
The county coroner is investigating. Endersby said a state Fish and Wildlife biologist was on hand to determine the type and size of the shark.
Surfers and swimmers have been ordered out of the waters of State Parks Beach near Morro Strand, where the attack took place, and nearby Morro Bay beaches for the next 24 hours. The beaches remain open to walkers and others.
Endersby estimates that about 25 to 30 people were in the vicinity when the man was dragged out of the water, and it’s not clear whether anyone witnessed the attack.
By the time harbor patrol cleared out the waters at 11 a.m., there were only three people swimming.
No additional details about the deadly incident have been released amid the investigation, which is being conducted by the San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office and California State Parks representatives, according to police.