SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (AP) — A body boarder bled to death Friday at a Central Coast beach after a shark mauled his leg, authorities said, prompting officials to close three beaches through the weekend.

Lucas Ransom, 19, was boogie-boarding in the surf line about 100 yards off of Surf Beach with a friend when a shark suddenly pulled him under the water shortly before 9 a.m., according to a statement from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Ransom’s friend and others at the beach pulled him from the water, but the University of California, Santa Barbara, student had a severe wound to his left leg and died a short time later, the statement said. The shark’s chomp took out a 1-foot portion of the board’s side.

Ransom, who was from Romoland in Riverside County, was a junior at UCSB majoring in chemical engineering, school spokesman Paul Desruisseaux said.

Surf Beach, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, is on the property of Vandenberg Air Force Base but is open to the public. Vandenberg closed Surf Beach and adjoining Wall and Minuteman beaches for at least three days.

There have been nearly 100 shark attacks in California since the 1920s, including a dozen that were fatal, according to the California Department of Fish and Game. But attacks have remained relatively rare even as the population of swimmers, divers and surfers sharing the waters has soared.

The last shark attack on Surf Beach was in 2008, when what was believed to be a great white shark bit a surfer’s board. The surfer was not harmed.

The last fatal attack in California was that same year, when triathlete David Martin, 66, bled to death after a great white shark bit his legs about 150 yards off of a San Diego County beach.

Randy Fry, 50, died from a great white attack in 2004 while diving off the coast of Mendocino, north of San Francisco Bay.

In 2003, a great white shark killed Deborah Franzman, 50, as she swam at Avila Beach, about 30 miles north of Vandenberg.

Many attacks are attributed to great white sharks, which can grow to 21 feet long. They live in the cold waters of Northern California and are rarer in Central and Southern California, although they do visit there to give birth.

The type of shark that attacked Ransom was not immediately determined, but witnesses said it was 14 to 20 feet long.

Authorities have issued several warnings this year after great white shark sightings up and down the California coast.

Juvenile sharks eat fish, rays and other sea life, and the adults also eat seals and sea lions. That can pose a problem for oceangoers, especially if they venture near marine mammal colonies.

The Fish and Game Department said sharks sometimes mistake people for seals or sea lions when swimmers wear a wet suit and fins or lay on a surfboard.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. rob says:

    SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (AP) -A shark attack has killed a beachgoer off the Central California coach and closed three beaches. — Shouldn’t it read “…off the Central California coast and closed….”?

  2. McD56 says:

    Guess what a lot of people aren’t as perfect as you Rob…..geeez……it seems a lot of people wake up in the morning and see how many people they can slam all day…, the next time you are out there “walking on water”….think of us who are only human….

  3. jla says:

    There is nothing wrong with rob correcting the spelling in this report. It is in fact pooly written and was not reviewed before it was published. It should also read “it is open to the public” rather than “is it open to the public”. Everyone should slow down and take time to read what they write rather than looking stupid. It has nothing to do with rob being perfect. I prefer to read correct statements.

  4. PC Paul says:

    It is called professional journalism, and if you did your job that poorly, you should be fired. Most blogs are written better than ths.

  5. McD56 says:

    I guess you are right….just thought it was a bit picky for Friday afternoon……it just seems that a lot of folks can say NOTHING good about anything…it just hit me wrong this time….just thought we could use some “nice” talk for a change………….NEVER MIND ROB…SO SORRY…..NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN

  6. Pamelap says:

    It seems some have forgotten the content of the report. May the young man rest in peace and my sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.

  7. Parker Peter says:

    This is nature you cheese monkies. One less person to compete with and less congestion on the commute this upcoming Monday.

  8. Micey says:

    This is hilarious! This should NOT be news. Dumb people that go in the water deserved to get eaten by Sharks. HELLO!!! There are sharks all up and down the CA coast.

  9. noneya says:

    I bet it sounded like “CRUNCH”!!! Sharky got to eat

  10. marko says:

    How do you think the sharks feel after they donate (involuntarily) their fins
    to sharkfin soup. Karma, ya’ll…..

  11. tn says:

    Prayers to the victim’s family and to The body boarder’s family lost a family member and the CBS news team lost an editor. It is a forgone conclusion that with the budget cuts, cannot afford a copy editor and writers with a college degree (or graduate of high school English). It is far cheaper to leave the editing to its readers who comment with diction, grammar and writing corrections and then have the writer “rewrite” his/her errors. Sadly, we forget what the article is trying to report and focus on the article writer’s poor command of English. He or she should have studied more harder so that he or she culd spel and right more better.

    1. castaspell says:

      An intresentig sudty sohws taht we can udnretsnad msot wtrinig as lnog as
      the frist and lsat lttres are in the crrocet palce. see waht i maen?

  12. Robert Baker says:

    I dont know the area where the attack occured. Is there a sea mammel population in the area?I loive near San Onofre where we have juvinile White Sharks feeding off the traps at the nuke plant. We havent spotted full grown adults in the area.

  13. surf hag from SC says:

    I wonder if surf beach is near Jalama? At tarantulas they spot sharks all the time. Yes Robert Baker, I also heard about several sharks at San O’

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