Shark Kills Surfer Off California Beach; Francisco Javiar Solorio Killed Day After Anniversary of 2010 Shark Attack

By Staff Reporter on October 24, 2012 9:27 AM EDT

shark attack
shark attack sign posted after Tuesday attack (Photo: reuters)

A veteran surfer was killed off the Santa Barbara, California, coast on Tuesday when a shark attacked the man and bit off a massive portion of his upper torso. According to Santa Barbara County authorities, surrounding water instantly dyed a deep shade of red following the swift attack. 39-year-old Francisco Javier Solorio Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene.

An incident that occurred at approximately 11 a.m. off SurfBeach, conditions were described as light winds with pleasant 2-foot swells. SurfBeach runs off the edge of Vandenberg Air Force Base and is a very popular spot for local swimmers and surfers.

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After sustaining the deadly bite, Solorio Jr. was promptly assisted back to beach by a friend. Solorio Jr.'s surfboard showed visible bite marks and the Santa Barbara County authorities have consulted with marine experts to examine both Solorio Jr.'s fatal wounds and the marks on the board.

Early investigations are suggesting that the animal responsible for this attack is a great white. According to Andrew Nosal of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, "There is no other species swimming off of the coast regularly that could possibly do that kind of damage."

Despite the sensational publicity associated with attacks from these mighty sharks, Nosal noted that shark attacks are still extremely rare.

Solorio Jr.'s death marks only the 13th fatal shark attack along California coastal waters since 1950. Only 75 shark attacks were accounted for worldwide for 2011, only a dozen of which were fatal.

That said, Solorio's death at SurfBeach marks the latest death since another fatal shark attack almost exactly two years ago, on Oct. 22, 2010. Lucas Ransom and his friends were boogie-boarding when a shark pulled the 19-year-old under and separated his left leg from his pelvis.

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