What kind of shark attacked on California coast?

A shark attack killed a surfer off the coast of California on Tuesday, according to authorities. Fatal shark attacks in the area are rare, however.

AP Photo/The Santa Maria Times, Leah Thompson
Surfers who were surfing with the 38-year-old victim of a fatal shark attack exit Surf Beach in Lompoc, Calif. Tuesday. The attack was reported by another surfer about 11 a.m. off the coast of Surf Beach.

A shark killed a male surfer at a popular surf spot off California's coast on Tuesday in the second fatal shark attack at the same beach in two years, authorities said.

The incident took place at Surf Beach near Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of the coastal city of Santa Barbara. The beach was closed by authorities after the attack.

"It was a confirmed shark attack and a confirmed death," a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's spokeswoman said.

A friend of the surfer pulled him out of the water after the late-morning attack, but life-saving efforts were unsuccessful and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Authorities could not immediately identify the size or type of shark involved.

"I don't think they saw enough of the shark to identify it," sheriff's department spokeswoman Diane Cline said.

Fatal shark attacks are rare on the U.S. West Coast, according to records kept by the Shark Research Committee, a nonprofit group that documents attacks.

Surfers were the most frequent victims and Great White sharks were the most frequent attackers, according to the group.

The attack came almost exactly two years after a shark attacked a 19-year-old man on a boogie board at the same beach on Oct. 22, 2010, pulling him underwater. That man died from wounds to his leg.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Will Dunham)

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