Deadly California Shark Attack Puzzles Experts

They don't usually attack in May, or in the afternoon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2020 4:03 AM CDT
Deadly California Shark Attack Puzzles Experts
A shark attack sign is posted at the Sand Dollar Beach section of Manresa State Beach after a surfer was killed by a shark earlier Saturday.   (Shmuel Thaler/The Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP)

Experts still haven't confirmed what kind of shark killed a surfer at a northern California beach Saturday—and they say the timing was unusual in more ways than one. Dave Ebert with the Pacific Shark Research Center says shark attacks usually occur between about July and November, and "May is definitely not a month you see many shark attacks," NBC News reports. He says it is also unusual that 26-year-old Ben Kelly was attacked in the afternoon, since sharks are most active in the morning and evening.

The coroner says Kelly, who was bitten less than 100 yards from shore at Manresa State Beach in Santa Cruz County, bled to death from a shark bite to his right knee that ripped open a major artery. This is the first fatal shark attack in northern California since a great white shark killed an abalone diver in 2004, KPIX reports. Wildlife biologist Forrest Galante says the shark might not have seen a surfer since California's stay-at-home orders were introduced, KRON reports. He says the shark may have grown used to a lack of humans in the water and attacked when its area was disturbed. Drone photographer Eric Mailander says he recently spotted dozens of great white sharks in the area. (More shark attack stories.)

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