A 26-year-old surfer was killed in a shark attack near Santa Cruz on Saturday, marking the first fatal shark attack in California in 8 years. The victim was identified as Ben Kelly, who was an avid surfer who customized surfboards for a living.
The tragic incident occurred around 1:30 pm on the Sand Dollar Beach within 100 yards of the shore. Per protocol, a 2-mile stretch of the water where the attack occurred will be closed for five days.
According to officials, Kelly was surfing with two friends about a mile south of Manresa State Beach parking lot at the time of the attack. At the time, the beach was closed in compliance with California’s shelter-in-place mandate, but but swimming and surfing was allowed in the water.
A shark attack happened at Sand Dollar Beach in Santa Cruz County today. My friend Eric Mailander has been observing dozens of great white sharks swimming near shore lately and shot these photos. Shark attacks against people are extremely rarehttps://t.co/9yrsS2tRWf @kron4news pic.twitter.com/2Lzw3Kkypj— Amy Larson (@AmyLarson25) May 9, 2020
The portion of water surrounding Santa Cruz is known as the Red Triangle, notorious for its shark activity. It’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of all great white shark attacks in the United States happen in this region, and 11 percent of total shark attacks in the world.