Authorities are continuing to investigate a rare shark attack off Manresa State Beach, in Santa Cruz, which killed 26-year-old Ben Kelly.
The surfer community and loved ones of Ben Kelly are mourning his loss this week as authorities continue to investigate the shark attack which led to his death. On Saturday, May 9, at 1:30 pm, Kelly was attacked while out surfing with two friends. He was pronounced dead following a fatal leg injury.
Dr. Dave Ebert, with the Pacific Shark Research Center, told NBC, shark attacks are rare and this one was particularly unusual.
He said “Usually most [shark attacks] occur between about July and November.
"May is definitely not a month you see many shark attacks."
Sharks are also usually most active during the mornings and evenings. Kelly's attack in the afternoon seems very odd. Also, as yet it is unknown what type of shark attacked Kelly.
The last shark attack in California took place eight years ago, in 2012, in Santa Barbara and was not fatal.
The attack took place 100 yards offshore. A witness flagged down a lifeguard in the area.
While Manesa State Beach was closed at the time, due to social distancing, swimming and surfing was permitted.
Kelly, from Northern California, who owned his one surfboard shaping business production company, traveled the world to surf. He was known for giving back and working with charity groups in Kenya and locally.
A friend of Kelly's Shalene Petersen said: “Unfortunately we lost such a nice person.”
“He would donate surfboards for the raffles and it was always towards a good cause, like giving back to families."
On Kelly’s company Instagram page Ben Kelly Surfboards, Aly Thompson, who was at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, posted a comment saying "I can’t imagine all that your family, Katie, and all those who loved you are holding right now,” Thompson wrote.
“It was an honor to know you and to experience the capacity and ferocity you loved others with. Our year as RAs together was an absolute joy, and I am thankful to have known and experienced life with you in it. Praying for peace that surpasses all understanding and sending so much love.”
On the same post, Jeremy Pedron wrote: “Ben you have always been of the truly kindest & sweetest individuals out there,” Pedron said. “Your love of others always has a felt impact on your community. Your family is in our prayers and our hearts sad. God take care of him for us he deserves the best.”
Kelly’s death prompted closures at the beach, following state guidelines, for one mile north and south of the location of the incident, the outlets reported.
“State Parks expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the victim,” the California State Parks department said in a statement.
Here is the CBS Los Angeles report on Ben Kelly's life and death: