26-year-old killed by shark at Sand Dollar Beach

26-year-old killed by shark at Sand Dollar Beach

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The community is mourning the death of surfer and businessman, Ben Kelly. The surfer was killed by a shark off at Sand Dollar Beach, just south of Manresa State Beach. Within the last week, dozens of sharks have been spotted off the Santa Cruz County Coast. Saturday afternoon, one of those sharks took the life of the surfer, who was catching waves with two other surfers when the shark attacked.“The lifeguard was flagged down by a citizen that said there was a shark attack,” explained Gabe McKenna, the public safety superintendent for California State Parks. “The lifeguard at that time found a victim of a shark attack on the shoreline and immediately called for assistance and rendered emergency care.”Sadly, Kelly didn’t make it. Law enforcement isn’t releasing details on the attack, but Action News 8 has learned the man was well known in the community. He operated a small surfboard business.“He makes surfboards (and) manufactures them in his home,” said owner of Freeline Surf Shop in Santa Cruz, Peter Mel. “Anybody who’s manufacturing surfboards is really into it for the love of the sport and the love of the ocean.”Mel had surfed in the same spot just 2 days before the accident. He explained surfers are aware of sharks in the water, but it doesn’t always stop them from going in.“Generally, when we’re surfing, we’re understanding there’s certain areas that have more sightings and other areas where there’s food nearby,” said Mel. “Overall, we know they’re there. We understand the risks. We just hope that it doesn’t happen.”As flowers and a small memorial are left to commemorate the surfer’s memory, Mel said the experience shows this can happen to anyone.“This guy had so much knowledge of the ocean, he’s been surfing for his entire life. He understood the area, he’s been traveling all over the world, so he’s one of those guys you know understood the risks. You just hope that it doesn’t happen, but it wasn’t anything where he was making a mistake,” said Mel.McKenna said the areas north and south of the attack will be closed until Thursday, May 14. As for more details on the attack, the coroner is expected to release that information Monday.This is the first fatal shark attack in California since 2012, according the University of Florida’s International “Shark attack file.” The last fatal shark attack to happen in our area was in 1981 at Moss Beach on the Monterey-Peninsula.

The community is mourning the death of surfer and businessman, Ben Kelly. The surfer was killed by a shark off at Sand Dollar Beach, just south of Manresa State Beach. Within the last week, dozens of sharks have been spotted off the Santa Cruz County Coast. Saturday afternoon, one of those sharks took the life of the surfer, who was catching waves with two other surfers when the shark attacked.

“The lifeguard was flagged down by a citizen that said there was a shark attack,” explained Gabe McKenna, the public safety superintendent for California State Parks. “The lifeguard at that time found a victim of a shark attack on the shoreline and immediately called for assistance and rendered emergency care.”

Sadly, Kelly didn’t make it. Law enforcement isn’t releasing details on the attack, but Action News 8 has learned the man was well known in the community. He operated a small surfboard business.

“He makes surfboards (and) manufactures them in his home,” said owner of Freeline Surf Shop in Santa Cruz, Peter Mel. “Anybody who’s manufacturing surfboards is really into it for the love of the sport and the love of the ocean.”

Mel had surfed in the same spot just 2 days before the accident. He explained surfers are aware of sharks in the water, but it doesn’t always stop them from going in.

“Generally, when we’re surfing, we’re understanding there’s certain areas that have more sightings and other areas where there’s food nearby,” said Mel. “Overall, we know they’re there. We understand the risks. We just hope that it doesn’t happen.”

As flowers and a small memorial are left to commemorate the surfer’s memory, Mel said the experience shows this can happen to anyone.

“This guy had so much knowledge of the ocean, he’s been surfing for his entire life. He understood the area, he’s been traveling all over the world, so he’s one of those guys you know understood the risks. You just hope that it doesn’t happen, but it wasn’t anything where he was making a mistake,” said Mel.

McKenna said the areas north and south of the attack will be closed until Thursday, May 14. As for more details on the attack, the coroner is expected to release that information Monday.

This is the first fatal shark attack in California since 2012, according the University of Florida’s International “Shark attack file.” The last fatal shark attack to happen in our area was in 1981 at Moss Beach on the Monterey-Peninsula.



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