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Surfer killed in shark attack off California coast

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE

California -- A shark killed a surfer Tuesday off a beach at coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base following a summer of shark sightings along California's Central Coast, authorities said.

Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., 39, died in the attack off the coast of Surf Beach in Lompoc, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

He was bitten in his upper torso.

Solorio “had a friend who he was surfing with who saw the shark bite or hit the man,” said sheriff's Sgt. Mark A. Williams. “His friend ended up swimming over and pulling him from the water where he received first aid.”

The friend started first aid while another surfer called for help, but Solorio was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

The Air Force said Solorio was not affiliated with the base, which allows public access to some of its beaches. All beaches on the base's coastline will be closed for at least 72 hours, as a precaution, Colonel Nina Armagno said Tuesday evening.

The type of shark involved and other details were under investigation.

It was the latest shark attack fatality at Surf Beach, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.

There were no shark warning signs posted at Surf Beach on Tuesday, said Lieutenant Erik Raney, adding that beaches don't typically post such notices unless the location had a recent shark sighting.

“We've had shark sightings up and down the Santa Barbara coastline pretty frequently recently,” said Raney, adding that the sightings are well-publicized.

Death by shark attack is rare. An average of 65 shark attacks occur each year around the world that typically result in two or three deaths, according to the Pew Environment Group.

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Tracks left by Vandenberg Air Force Base Security Force personnel responding on all-terrain vehicles to Surf Beach in Lompoc, California are seen Tuesday, Oct. 23, following a fatal shark attack. (AP)

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