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L.A. Now Live: Fatal California shark attack 13th since 1950

October 24, 2012 |  8:33 am

The fatal shark attack on a surfer off the Santa Barbara County coast marks the 13th known fatal shark encounter in California waters since 1950, experts said.

Times staff writer Wesley Lowery will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the death of surfer Francisco Javier Solorio Jr.

Shark attacks declined in the United States last year, but worldwide fatalities doubled, according to a report released earlier this year. Of the 75 shark attacks around the globe in 2011, a dozen were fatal, up from six the year before, according to the annual report by the International Shark Attack File, which is compiled by the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

Solorio, of Orcutt, was described as an avid surfer who had been coming to the surf spot since he was a boy.

He was dragged by a friend to the beach after he sustained a massive bite on his upper torso that turned the water surrounding him red, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Experts said Solorio was likely bitten by a great white shark. They will be examining bite marks on the surfboard to try to determine the shark's species.