Tomas Abraham Butterfield, 42, was bitten in the head, chest, and shoulder during the Morro Bay incident and died as a result of “complications of numerous penetrating blunt force traumatic injuries,” according to a coroner’s report published Tuesday by The Tribune of San Luis Obispo County.
The Tribune said that a piece of what seemed to be a shark’s tooth was discovered on his body, citing a report by a sheriff’s detective that was handed to the publication as part of a public records request.
Although the shark’s size and age were not determined, the radius of one bite mark measured up to 16 inches, according to the detective’s report.
On Dec. 24, Butterfield was attacked while bodyboarding north of Morro Rock. The Sacramento man was in town for the holidays, visiting his mother and brother.
Butterfield was rescued from the surf by a surfer who noticed him face down in the ocean, still attached to his bodyboard. He was pronounced dead at the spot.
Butterfield suffered a shattered skull, crushed ribs, and other injuries, including to the inferior vena cava, a major vein that connects the thorax and lower body to the heart, according to the coroner’s report.
Dr. Joye Carter stated that Butterfield died moments thereafter.
According to Mike Harris of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which participated in the inquiry, a DNA sample taken during the autopsy showed that the injuries were caused by a great white shark.
It was unclear if the shark lunged once or multiple times.
Morro Bay is located around 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Shark attacks surged globally in 2021, after three consecutive years of decline, according to a January research.
The United States reported the highest number of assaults, and Florida accounted for approximately 40% of all unprovoked bites worldwide.
According to the paper, researchers with the International Shark Attack File recorded 73 unprovoked incidents last year, up from 52 bites in 2020.