Man killed by shark attack in Solana Beach

A retired veterinarian who was swimming with members of a triathlon club was killed Friday morning in a shark attack north of Fletcher Cove.

A marine expert said the wounds appeared to be from a great white shark, an attack he described as “practically unprecedented” in the area.

Richard H. Rosenblatt, a professor emeritus of marine biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography who examined Martin’s body, said he believed the shark was a great white between 12- and 17-feet-long.

Rosenblatt said the shark likely thought the swimmer was a seal, and that almost all attacks by white sharks on swimmers are cases of mistaken identity.

Following the attack, lifeguards in two vehicles were patrolling Solana Beach’s 1.7 miles of coastline and a sheriff’s helicopter flew overhead, telling people to stay out of the water. The helicopter would fly over the area until 6 p.m. Friday, then resume at 8 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.

The last time a shark was confirmed to have bitten someone in San Diego County waters was in 1994.