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Experts: Killer shark was probably great white

Tracks left by Vandenberg Air Force Base Security Force personnel responding on all-terrain vehicles to Surf Beach in Lompoc, Calif. are seen Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 following a fatal shark attack. 39-year-old Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., of Orcutt, was killed while surfing at the same beach UC Santa Barbara student Lucas Ransom was fatally attacked at two years and one day prior. (Leah Thompson / Santa Maria Times)
Tracks left by Vandenberg Air Force Base Security Force personnel responding on all-terrain vehicles to Surf Beach in Lompoc, Calif. are seen Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 following a fatal shark attack. 39-year-old Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., of Orcutt, was killed while surfing at the same beach UC Santa Barbara student Lucas Ransom was fatally attacked at two years and one day prior. (Leah Thompson / Santa Maria Times)
Robert Jablon Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Experts say the shark that bit and killed a surfer off California’s central coast probably was a great white and may have been 15 feet long.

Thirty-nine-year-old Francisco Javier Solorio Jr. of Orcutt was bitten in the upper torso in the waters off Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. He died at the scene.

Authorities have closed the beach about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, where another shark attack two years ago killed a 19-year-old surfer.

Ralph Collier of the Shark Research Committee says he’ll meet with investigators and examine the surfboard to study teeth marks but it’s likely the attacker was a great white, which is not uncommon in California waters.

He also says it’s likely the shark wasn’t trying to kill the surfer but may have mistaken him for prey such as a seal and took a test bite that proved deadly.

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