A UCSB student was attacked by a shark Friday morning off Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Surf Beach and died of his injuries. A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department coroner responded to scene, according to a VAFB spokesman.
Lucas McKaine Ransom, 19, of Romoland, was boogie boarding shortly before 9 a.m. about 100 yards out with a friend when a shark pulled him under the water, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars said in a statement.
Friends and other witnesses pulled Ransom to shore, but he suffered a massive wound to his left leg and died of his injuries on the scene, authorities said.
Ransom was junior at UCSB, where he was majoring in chemical engineering.
Since he is a civilian, the Sheriff’s Department is heading up the investigation, although federal and state Fish and Game officials are trying to identify the type of shark. Witnesses guessed it at 14 to 20 feet long, Sugars said.
The base has closed Surf, Minuteman and Wall beaches for at least 72 hours. They will reassess the situation after further investigation into Friday’s attack, Air Force Lt. Ann Blodzinski said. Surf Beach is the only one open to the public, and Vandenberg responded to the scene along with the Sheriff’s Department.
There was an incident of a shark biting a surfboard in September 2008 at Surf Beach, but sharks aren’t a common occurrence there, Blodzinski said.
“The most common here are great whites, but I can’t confirm what this was in this situation,” she said.
The county is posting warning signs in the Guadalupe and Jalama beach areas, but no beaches are being closed at this time.