California Authorities Close Beaches After Man Kills In Shark Attack | California
Authorities in California have closed some beaches in San Luis Obispo County after a 31-year-old man was pronounced dead following an encounter with a shark on Friday.
The death marked the first death in a shark attack in 18 years in the region, located roughly halfway between Los Angeles and Jan Jose.
County officials were still contacting the next of kin on Saturday before revealing the man’s identity, said Eric Endersby, director of the Morro Bay Harbor Patrol.
“It’s a horrible accident”, Endersby told CNN. “Fortunately, the weather and the wind have ruined the surf so there aren’t many surfers around, but we have closed the waters for safety reasons.”
Bad weather in the area meant that there were fewer people in the water than usual. “Mother Nature was on our side because we could have had more people for sure,” Endersby told the LA Times.
The patrol director said it was not clear if anyone witnessed the attack, but the man appeared to be a bodyboarder. He was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived at the scene.
The attack comes after a series of non-fatal encounters with sharks in the area. In 2019, student Nick wapner was bitten by a great white shark off the coast of Montaña de Oro State Park. Another attack also took place on the same beach four years earlier when a man was hit by a shark, believed to be an 8 to 10 foot juvenile.
The last fatal encounter took place in August 2003, when a 50 year old woman was attacked while swimming with seals, a favorite prey of the Grand Blanc.
Enderby told the newspaper that the presence of seals should be a warning to the presence of sharks.
“If you see a lot of bird or seal activity in the water, that’s a sign that people should be looking to get out of the water,” he said. “Human attacks are largely a case of mistaken identity.”