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Surfer killed in apparent great white shark attack

ABC News logo ABC News 12/25/2021
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A surfer was killed in an apparent great white shark attack off the central California coast Friday, authorities said.

The incident occurred at the Morro Bay State Park beach before 11 a.m. local time, according to the Morro Bay Police Department.

MORE: Man in serious condition after being bitten by great white shark at California beach

The man was unresponsive after he was pulled from the water "suffering from an apparent shark attack," the department said in a statement.

A woman surfing nearby saw a boogie board and someone face down in the water whom she tried to bring to shore, Morro Bay Harbor Patrol Director Eric Endersby told ABC News. Morro Bay Harbor Patrol showed up shortly after and assisted in bringing the victim in, he said.

A person was killed in an apparent shark attack in Morro Bay, Calif., on Dec. 24, 2021. © KEYT A person was killed in an apparent shark attack in Morro Bay, Calif., on Dec. 24, 2021.

The surfer was pronounced dead at the scene and has not been identified yet, police said.

There doesn't appear to be any witnesses to the attack, Endersby said.

The bite, which will be measured by a coroner, appeared to be consistent with that of a great white shark, based on what responding officers saw, Endersby said.

MORE: Baby white sharks can't tell difference between humans and seals: Study

The San Luis Obispo County Coroner's Office and state parks representatives were investigating the scene, police said Friday afternoon. A biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife was also on scene, Endersby said.

The beaches in the area of the apparent attack will remain open but authorities have ordered people to stay out of the water for the next 24 hours.

View of Morro Bay and Morro Rock from the Elfin Forest, Baywood Park, San Luis Obispo County, California. © Universal Images Group via Getty Images, FILE View of Morro Bay and Morro Rock from the Elfin Forest, Baywood Park, San Luis Obispo County, California.

Shark attacks are very rare, especially fatal ones.

There were 33 unprovoked shark attacks on humans in the United States last year, three of which were fatal, according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

Nearly half of the unprovoked attacks occurred in Florida. The fatalities were in California, Hawaii and Maine.

ABC News' Nicholas Kerr contributed to this report.

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