The victim, who’s name has not been released, was surfing off Manresa State Beach on the northern end of Monterey Bay around 1:30 p.m. when he was attacked by an unknown shark species, the California State Parks said in a statement. He was pronounced dead on scene and his family have been notified by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department.
Following State Parks protocol, the water one mile south and north of the incident location will be closed for five days and will not be reopened until May 14. Signs warning beachgoers about the shark attack are now posted on access points and beach entrances within a one-mile radius of the incident.
“State Parks expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the victim,” the statement said.
Photos captured by KTVU showed rescue crews on the beach shortly after the incident occured, while ambulances could also be seen in a parking lot close to the beach.
With the exception of water sports, Manresa State Beach is fully closed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, in an effort to prevent a surge of visitors to the beach amid the CCP virus pandemic, commonly referred to as novel coronavirus. During the other times, the beach is open to local residents who are able to walk or bike into the beach, provided they maintain social distancing guidelines.
According to California’s KRON4 network, Great White sharks are commonly seen swimming near the beaches of Santa Cruz County during this time of year, but attacks on people rarely occur.
Monterey Bay drone photographer Eric Mailander told the outlet that he had counted 15 great white sharks while out on his boat on Saturday morning but noted that none were showing signs of aggressive predatory behavior.
There have been at least two other fatal shark attacks along the Northern California coast since 1984, both involving divers.
In 2004, 50-year-old Randy Fry was killed by a 17-foot great white shark while diving for abalone near Kibeseliah Rock in Mendocino County. He was diving with a friend at the time. His body was recovered three days later.
On September. 15, 1985, 28-year-old Omar Conger was attacked by a 16-foot great white shark at Pigeon Point while Conger was diving with a friend. Authorities said Conger was bitten from behind and pulled underwater. His friend was able to pull him to shore but he died at short time later. It has later determined the shark involved was a 15-16 foot great white shark.
In 2019, there were 64 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks on humans and 41 confirmed provoked attacks worldwide, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, which it said was down from the average of 82 incidents annually.