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Shark attack: Santa Barbara County shark that bit, killed surfer was probably great white

BlueRidgeKitties/Flickr Creative Commons

A shark swimming overhead at the Ocean Voyager tunnel at the Georgia Aquarium.

Experts say the shark that bit and killed a surfer off California’s central coast probably was probably a great white. It may have been 15 feet long.

Francisco Javier Solorio Jr. of Orcutt, 39, was bitten in the upper torso in the waters off Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. He died at the scene.

Authorities closed the beach about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, where another shark attack two years ago killed a 19-year-old surfer.

Ralph Collier of the Shark Research Committee says he’ll meet with investigators and examine the surfboard to study teeth marks, but it’s likely the attacker was a great white, which is not uncommon in California waters.

He also says it’s likely the shark wasn’t trying to kill the surfer but may have mistaken him for prey, such as a seal, and took a test bite that proved deadly.

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