Friday, July 20 , 2018, 7:09 pm | Fair 71º


Local News

UCSB Student Dies in Shark Attack Off VAFB Beach

The 19-year-old male suffered a massive bite wound to his leg while boogie boarding

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.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >