California: Surfer killed in 'apparent shark attack' at Morro Rock on Christmas Eve

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A surfer has been killed in an "apparent shark attack" off the central coast of California on Christmas Eve, authorities have said.

The surfer, whose identity has not yet been released, was found in the water near Morro Rock, about 200 miles (320km) north of Los Angeles. in Los Angeles, California, at around 10.45am on Christmas Eve.

Officials have since ordered people to stay out of the water for at least 24 hours.

The Morro Bay Harbor Department said in a statement on Twitter: "Harbor, Police and Fire Departments responded to a report of a male victim unresponsive on the beach after he was pulled from the water suffering from an apparent shark attack."

Morro Bay Harbour director Eric Endersby told The San Luis Obispo Tribune that a female surfer had seen the victim face-down and got him out of the water.

However, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The date he was attacked is also not known, but it officials thought the conditions of the surfer's body showed it may have been a recent attack.

Mr Endersby also warned people to be aware of sharks swimming nearby by watching out for the presence of seals.

He told the LA Times: "If you see a lot of bird or seal activity in the water, that's a sign that people should be looking to get out of the water.

"Human attacks are largely a case of mistaken identity."

Crews have been patrolling the area to look for the shark.

The LA Times reported that the last time a person died in the area - a 50-year-old woman in August 2003 - she had been swimming with seals.

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