First responders were dispatched Friday morning at around 10:30 local time in response to a report of a victim unresponsive on the beach along California’s central coast, according to a statement from the Morro Bay Police Department.
The victim, whose age and identity have yet to be released, was pronounced dead on the beach.
“He was pulled from the water suffering from an apparent shark attack,” the statement explained.
Morro Bay Harbor Patrol Director Eric Endersby said that a woman who was surfing nearby saw a body facedown in the water near a boogie board, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The woman attempted to bring the body ashore and was later assisted by Morro Bay Harbor Patrol.
“As we were arriving, there was a female surfer in the water that was assisting the victim that apparently saw him a little distance away from where she was, facedown in the water,” Endersby said.
“About that time, we arrived on scene … so we took over,” Endersby added. “It was an apparent shark attack victim, definitely deceased, no possibility of resuscitation.”
Endersby further explained that there were no apparent witnesses to the surfer’s death, and that the bite on the victim was consistent with that of a great white shark, according to responding officers.
Authorities left the beaches and state park areas open but ordered people to stay out of the water for the next 24 hours.
Shark attacks in California are rare. Since the 1950s, 199 such incidents have been reported, according to figures from California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. Of these, only 14 resulted in fatalities.