updated 5/24/2008 3:51:09 PM ET 2008-05-24T19:51:09

A shark killed a 21-year-old surfer Friday off Mexico's Pacific coast — six miles from a beach where an American man died in a similar attack last month, authorities said.

Osvaldo Mata Valdovinos, of Mexico, was attacked while surfing off Pantla beach west of Acapulco, said Jaime Vazquez Sobreira, the local Civil Protection director. The shark bit off the man's left hand and broke one of his legs, Vazquez Sobreira said.

"Two witnesses, his friends who were swimming with him, told us they saw a 2-meter (6-foot) shark attack him and pull him underwater," a police spokeswoman for the state of Guerrero said.

His friends paddled him back to shore, a few yards away, but he lost consciousness and died before medics arrived.

Surfers at Pantla beach saw fins in the sea shortly before the attack, which he said broke Valdovinos femur and left a 12-inch wound in his thigh, causing him to bleed to death.

The attack came less than a month after Adrian Ruiz, 24, of San Francisco died after being bitten by a shark while surfing off Troncones beach. Mexican authorities used baited hooks to catch sharks in the area the next day.

Environmentalists opposed the hunt and have demanded that authorities post signs in the area's beaches warning about sharks.

Pantla and Troncones beaches are around 150 miles from Acapulco, Mexico's best-known Pacific resort and a magnet for some 6 million Mexican and foreign tourists each year.

The attacks have alarmed residents of coastal resorts in Mexico, where fatal shark attacks are rare. Before that, the last shark death in Mexico was in the Caribbean in 1997, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File.

No one had been killed by a shark on Mexico's Pacific coast in over 30 years, according to the museum's records.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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