Gambian Felix Louis N’jai, a kite-surfing coach was last weekend attacked by a shark in the waters of Point Reyes, California, United States.
According to reports, the 52-year-old was dragged into the water by a shark around 10:40am, Sunday, off the coast of Wildcat Beach in Point Reyes.
Officials announced Friday that recovery efforts have been suspended for the missing swimmer.
Officials said N’jai was last seen wearing a black wetsuit about 100 feet from shore and was swimming with two friends in the ocean when he went missing.
At the time of the incident, local firefighters said they determined that the three men encountered a shark which attacked one of them. The other two swam back to shore and told first responders there was a large pool of blood in the water.
Park officials said Friday that a shark was seen in the area at the time but they had not confirmed if a shark attack took place.
His friends said Mr Njai was killed in the reported shark attack. They said Njai was at Point Reyes to celebrate a friend’s wedding. Kite surfers gathered at his former work place, Crissy Field Yacht Club in San Francisco, on Monday to mourn him.
“We all got in a circle, and we listened to the story. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the group,” said Jim Keenan, Louis-Njai’s friend.
“Njai was taking to two buddies in the water when the shark struck. The shark came up, grabbed Felix by the neck supposedly, brought him down and that was the last they saw. Two other guys rushed out of the water, turned around and they saw blood and some commotion in the water. But no Felix and that was it,” he said.
Njai’s friends said he was training to compete in the 2024 Olympics for his native Gambia. They said his passion for the sport and the energy he shared with everyone he knew was unmatched.
An advisory from the National Park Service said: “The US Coast Guard suspended its search in the frigid waters this morning, but a ground search is being conducted by first responders from the NPS, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and the Marin County Fire Department, and the Stinson Beach Fire Department.”
There have been 210 shark attacks and incidents off the California coast since 1950, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Only 15 of them have been fatal.
Felix was a well-respected kitefoiler who went to the US from The Gambia a few decades ago.