The shark that killed a 39-year-old surfer Tuesday at Surf Beach, within Vandenberg Air Force Base at Lompoc, Calif., was most likely a great white measuring 15-16 feet.
Ralph S. Collier of the Shark Research Committee based that estimate on teeth marks on the body of Francisco Javier Solorio, and on his surfboard.
Collier, after conducting interviews, states that the attack occurred at 11:50 a.m., by a large shark that pulled Solorio from his board and dragged him underwater.
Solorio's friend was sitting nearby on his board and witnessed the attack from the corner of his eye. As the friend paddled over to try to offer assistance, he saw Solorio surface and grab his surfboard with both hands.
Solorio pleaded for help before losing consciousness. He had sustained a large bite from his mid-torso to his thigh.
Paramedics were unsuccessful in reviving Solorio after he had been assisted to shore. The attack occurred almost two years to the day after a fatal shark attack at the same beach.
Collier said tooth impressions on the surfboard and victim were "consistent with the dental pattern of a great white shark [measuring] 15 or 16 feet."
According to the Department of Fish and Game, there have been 13 fatal shark attacks off California since 1952.