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California surfer killed in shark attack

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A California surfer was killed Tuesday by a shark off a beach at coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, authorities said.

The attack was reported by another surfer about 11 a.m. off the coast of Surf Beach in Lompoc, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

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The victim ‘‘had a friend who he was surfing with who saw the shark bite or hit the man,’’ said sheriff’s Sergeant Mark A. Williams. ‘‘His friend ended up swimming over and pulling him from the water’’ with severe injuries.

The friend started first aid while another surfer called for help, but the male victim was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

The Air Force said only that the victim was 38 years old and was not affiliated with the base, which allows public access to some of its beaches.

The type of shark involved and other details were under investigation.

Williams said the man’s identity will be released after his next of kin are notified.

It was not the first shark attack fatality at Surf Beach, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

In October 2010, Lucas Ransom, a 19-year-old college student, died when a shark nearly severed his leg as he body-boarded.

Hundreds of miles south near the coast of San Diego, triathlete David Martin was killed in 2008 by a 15-foot shark thought to have been a great white.

Last month, warning signs were posted at Santa Barbara Harbor, about 65 miles southeast of Surf Beach, after a 14-foot great white shark was spotted by a surfer.

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