Mystery surrounds surfer death in Pacific Beach

SAN DIEGO – An all-night search for a missing man in Pacific Beach ended with the discovery of a body covered in shark bites, authorities said Thursday.

A 42-year-old man was found dead around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, just north of the cove, San Diego lifeguards said.

pic 3The fiancée of the man, who has not been publically identified, reported him missing the night before, lifeguards said.

“She said he’d gone surfing and hadn’t come back yet,” said San Diego lifeguard Lt. John Everhart.

Neil Ratnavara surfs along San Diego’s shores and saw the man just hours before he went missing.

“I just saw him paddle off shore out there, going north just by himself,” said Ratnavara. “There were still a few people in the water.  Not too waves, but there was nothing odd about that.”

The man went missing, yet his surfboard was found with his wetsuit tied around it.

“I’ve been doing this 30 years almost and I’ve never seen someone do that,” said Everhart.  “It’s just a very strange decision to make when you’re out on the water.”

Lifeguards also said there were no clear signs of struggle.  However, when the body was found, it had suffered several injuries.

“We’re assuming they were shark bites.  There was certainly a lot of trauma that was done to the body,” said Everthart.

The type of shark unknown, but the medical examiner believes the bites happened after the man died.

The death is now under investigation and it’s one that’s weighing heavily on the surf community.

“The thing is we don’t know what happened, none of us know who it is,” said Ratnavara.