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Shark attack victim was 39-year-old surfer

October 23, 2012 |  6:06 pm

The man killed in a shark attack near Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday has been identified as a 39-year-old Orcutt resident, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department officials said. 

Francisco Javier Solorio Jr. died of a massive shark bite to the upper torso while surfing with a friend off Surf Beach about 11 a.m., said Sgt. Mark Williams.

"His friend saw the shark hit him," Williams said. "It was a pretty bad bite."

Two other friends were on shore and called 911 as the fellow surfer swam over and pulled Solorio to shore. After attempts to administer CPR, Solorio was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities from Vandenberg Air Force Base, who were the first on the scene, said Solorio's surf board had visible shark bites. Oceanography experts say this attack is consistent with that of a great white shark. 

The attack comes almost two years to the day after a 19-year-old surfer was attacked and killed by a great white shark off the coast of the same beach.

On Oct. 22, 2010, 19-year-old Lucas Ransom and his friend were boogie-boarding when a shark appeared and pulled Ransom under.

His surfing buddy, Matthew Garcia, said the shark was 18 to 20 feet long.

"It was very stealth," he told The Times after the attack. "You would have never known there was a shark in the water. It was all really quick."

The water turned red, he said: "Imagine a river of blood. That's what the wave looked like for a minute."

Ransom's left leg was ripped off at the pelvis, his parents said. Garcia tried to give him chest compressions as he pulled him to shore. But he was bleeding profusely and died before rescue personnel got there.

Vandenberg Air Force Base officials are requesting that the public avoid the area because of safety consideration.


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-- Wesley Lowery and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Vandenberg Air Force Base personnel block the entrance to Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. Credit: Leah Thompson /The Santa Maria Times