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Warning signs to stay up by Morro Rock after man killed in apparent great white attack on Christmas Eve

Angel Russell

An autopsy is underway for a man who was killed by a shark in Morro Bay on Christmas Eve. The name of the victim is set to be released this week.

"Enter at your own risk" signs will stay up all week by Morro Rock after a 31-year-old boogie boarder was killed in what officials say appears to be a shark attack.

“While it hasn’t been confirmed the size or type of shark, due to the extent of the injuries and the nature of the injuries, it is believed to be a great white shark," said Morro Bay Harbor Director Eric Endersby.

Endersby said the male boogie boarder's body was found in the water by another surfer, but it's unclear how far out from shore the man was when the attack happened.

“The surfer had fins, had a leash tying into his boogie board, which was still attached, he had a full wetsuit," Endersby said. "Once he was up on the sand, he was declared deceased on the beach. The actual time of the death, we are unsure.”

Endersby said the man has been identified, and his next of kin has been notified. An autopsy is underway and the name of the victim will be released this week.

For now, Endersby said people can return to the water whenever they feel comfortable.

“We get questions, is it safe now or is it still unsafe? It’s never safe or unsafe, it is what it is," Endesby said. " It’s the wilderness and you have to be aware of your surroundings.”

Whether it was because of the rain or the recent shark attack, people were cruising along the beach but staying out of the water Monday morning.

“It’s definitely puts a little fear going back out in the water,” said surfer Eric Durante.

Durante said although the attack has spooked some surfers, it won’t stop him and his friends from hitting the water again.

“I wouldn’t want to go out when there is no one else out," Durante said. "I would definitely, if there is other surfers out, I’ll go back out.”

Endersby said since 2014 there have been three shark attacks reported in the Morro Bay area. All of them were surfers who survived the attacks.

The last fatal shark attack in SLO County happened in 2003 when a woman was swimming close to seals near the Avila Beach pier.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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