Surfer dies after shark attack off California air force base

Story highlights

  • The victim is identified as 39-year-old Francisco Javier Solorio
  • Four friends were riding waves off Surf Beach at Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • One notices a shark attack his friend
  • The victim wasn't affiliated with the military base, a spokesman says

A surfer died Tuesday after a shark bit him off the coast of a Southern California air force base, authorities said.

Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., 39, was riding waves Tuesday morning with three friends when he was bitten, according to Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office.

One of the friends saw the attack, swam over and pulled Solorio out of the water and onto the beach, Sgt. Mark Williams with the sheriff's office said. The friend gave him first aid while another called for help, he said.

Paramedics pronounced Solorio dead at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

The four friends were surfing at Surf Beach, located on the Vandenberg Air Force Base, whose fire department responded to the emergency call, authorities said.

Solorio, who was from Orcutt, just two miles from Vandenberg, wasn't affiliated with the military base, said a Vandenberg spokeswoman.

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Authorities say the surf board showed bite marks, the military base said.

The type of shark hadn't been identified as of Tuesday afternoon, and that base beach was closed until further notice, authorities said.

On October 22, 2010 -- a day short of a two-year anniversary -- another shark attack killed a 19-year-old college student off the same beach at Vandenberg.

That shark, described as being 14 to 20 feet, bit off the left leg of Lucas McKaine Ransom of Romoland, California, while he was Boogie Boarding with a 20-year-old male friend, authorities said.

Ransom was a junior at University of California at Santa Barbara and was majoring in chemical engineering.

Surf Beach is one of three that sit on the coastal military base and is the only one open to the public, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Opinion: Even after attacks, sharks need protection

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