October 23, 2010 by staff
Lucas Ransom, six-foot waves broke when Lucas Ransom and his old friend Matthew Garcia came to the west of Lompoc Surf beach on Friday morning.
No wind, glassy conditions – agreed it would be a great session of Garcia in his surfboard and rescue in his battered, red bodyboard.
Before he plunged into the chilly waters, Ransom pulled out his cell phone.
“You would not believe that these waves, Mom. I can not wait to get them,” said Candace Ransom, who told him to have fun and call later.
That was the last I heard from the son of 19 years of age, which he described as a fearless athlete with “the sweetest heart.”
The two youths had been in the waves about 45 minutes, when a shark appeared out of nowhere and took Ransom low. There was no warning, Garcia said. The shark appeared to be about 18 to 20 feet long, he said.
Ransom looked at his friend a couple of feet away and said, “Help me, dude,” before disappearing into the waves, Garcia said. “It was very stealthy,” he said. “You would never have known there was a shark in the water. It was all very fast.”
Ransom’s left leg was ripped off in the pelvis, said his parents. Garcia tried to give chest compressions when you pulled him to shore, but Ransom was bleeding profusely and died before getting there.
Witnesses told authorities that the young were about 100 yards offshore when the attack occurred. Fire personnel Vandenberg Air Force Base pronounced dead at the scene of rescue.
Authorities quickly closed Surf Beach and two beaches close by at least 72 hours. Surf Beach Vandenberg is located in 42 kilometers of coastline, but the public has access to it from California Highway 246.
Federal and state wildlife are working to identify the type of shark that attacked Ransom. A shark expert said Friday that based on his conduct and the loss of Ransom, was most likely a great white shark.
“It takes a large shark and jaw to cause such injuries,” said Andrew Nosal Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
seek prey of white sharks in the water and attack with great ferocity from below, Nosal said, adding that the silhouette of a surfer on a bodyboard is a lot like a seal on the surface. After biting, it’s too late.
“It may be mistaken identity,” he said.
About 75% of fatal shark attacks are caused by great whites. Still, the attacks are extremely rare, Nosal said. The last fatality in California was in 2008 when a 17-foot shark killed a retired veterinarian who was swimming in Solana Beach.
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