Santa Barbara/Vandendberg Air Force Base Shark Attack 2010, Updated: Victim ID'd as UCSB's Lucas McKaine Ranson

by the Left Coast Rebel

Scary stuff, a body boarder at Surf Beach at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara, California has been killed, most likely by a Great White Shark.

The last fatality from a shark attack in California occurred in 2008, a man was killed in Solana Beach, California, close to San Diego.

Via. the L.A. Times:

The victim of Friday morning's fatal shark attack at Surf Beach in northern Santa Barbara County was a 20-year-old UC Santa Barbara student who was body boarding when the shark bit his leg off, County Sheriff Bill Brown reportedly told The Lompoc Record.

The newspaper quoted Brown as saying the incident occurred between 9 and 9:30 a.m., when the 20-year-old was in the water with a friend.

[Updated at 1:55 p.m: Vandenburg Air Force Base issued a statement saying that the victim was boogie boarding.]

Shark sightings reportedly are common off Surf Beach.

"Surfers like the area, especially on a day like today when the break is head high and smooth. But they say they see sharks," Clay Garland, head ranger at Jalama Beach, told the Times.

That's not the case at Jalama, about an hour south, said Garland, a Santa Barbara County Parks employee who sends crews to Surf Beach to pick up trash and do maintenance. "In the 12 years I've been here, there's only been two sightings."

Garland guessed that the shark off Surf Beach saw the body boarder and thought he was a seal. “They follow the food chain and we’re in their domain,” he said.

Surf Beach is owned by Vandenberg Air Force Base but is publicly accessible from Highway 246, Garland said.

Details of Friday's attack remained sketchy. A spokeswoman for Vandenberg Air Force Base told The Times that Santa Barbara County coroner's investigators were on the beach and that the investigation was being handled by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. Authorities closed Surf Beach and Wall and Minuteman beaches for 72 hours because of the attack.

The Lompoc Record said that in 2008, a shark took a bite out of a surfer's board at Surf Beach, prompting officials to temporarily close that section of coastline.

-- Andrew Blankstein in Los Angeles and Catherine Saillant in Thousand Oaks

Updated: Santa Barbara's has identified the victim as 19 year old Lucas McKaine Ranson, of Romoland in Riverside County:
Officials say 19 year old Lucas McKaine Ranson, of Romoland in Riverside County, died after a shark pulled him off his "boogie board" about 100 yards from shore. Ranson suffered a massive wound to his left leg. The attack happened just before 9:00 a.m.

An eyewitness at the scene called the KEY newsroom around 9:20 a.m. saying the victim "had his leg bitten off and lost too much blood." That source also told KEY News the victim was pulled to shore by a friend, but efforts to stop the bleeding were unsuccessful.

Officials at Vandenberg have closed Surf, Wall, and Minuteman beaches as a result. The beaches will be closed for a 72 hour period.
A portion of Surf Beach is accessible to the public. Warning signs are also being posted at County beaches in the Jalama and Guadelupe area.

Federal and State Fish and Game officials are working to identify the type of shark which was described as being 14 to 20 feet in length.

The last known attack at Surf Beach took place back in September of 2008. A surfer reported having his board bitten by a shark. A fatal shark attack occurred at Avila Beach in 2003 killing Nipomo resident Dorborah Franzman. Officials confirm that attack was by a Great White shark.
Google map of the area where the shark attack occurred:

View Larger Map

Related: Check out this picture of a kayaker being approached by a Great White shark. What do you think, is it 2, 3, times longer than the kayak?:

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