A 31-year-old man was pronounced dead Friday morning after a shark attack on Moro Bay beach, believed to be the first death in San Luis Obispo County in 18 years.
Moro Bay Harbor Patrol Director Eric Endersby said county officials were in the process of contacting family members before releasing the person’s identity.
The person appeared to be a bodybuilder, Endersby said. The man was initially assisted by a female surfer who was nearby and he paddled to help.
Endersby said he had no connection and did not know if he had seen the attack.
The person was dragged to the beach by a surfer. Firefighters and police arrived at the scene at 10:48 a.m., Endersby said, and paramedics pronounced the body dead.
The district crime prevention officer is investigating. Endersby said a state fish and wildlife biologist was ready to determine the type and size of the shark.
Surfers and swimmers have been ordered to evacuate State Parks Beach and nearby Moro Bay beaches for the next 24 hours. The beaches are open to pedestrians and others.
Endersby estimates that about 25 to 30 people were nearby when the man was pulled out of the water, and it is unclear if anyone saw the attack.
By the time the port patrol discharged the water at 11 a.m., only three people were swimming.
“The word spread like wildfire, and people quickly got out of the water,” Endersby said.
Endersby believed the weather conditions may have contributed to the holiday crowd less than usual. Throughout Thursday the rain led to runoff near the beach, and the wind kicked the waves higher than normal, he said.
“Mother Nature was on our side because we could definitely evict more people,” he said.
Endersby, a 28-year-old port patrolman, recalled some recent area shark attacks over the past 10 years, but not a single death.
Call Polly Nick Wapner, a San Luis Obispo student Jan. 9, 2019 A large white shark bites in Montana de Oro State Park. In 2015, a man attacked the same beach He is believed to have been attacked in his 50s By a boy aged 8 to 10 feet.
Endersby believes the last shark attack death occurred in August 2003 A 50-year-old woman was killed on Avila Beach.
On that occasion, the woman is believed to have been swimming with seals at the time.
Endersby said the appearance of marine mammals as a food source for different types of sharks should be a warning.
“If you see a lot of birds or sealing activity in the water, it is a sign that people need to get out of the water,” he said. “Human attacks are often a case of misidentification.”