California surfer killed in shark attack

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A California surfer was killed Tuesday by a shark off a beach at coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, authorities said.

The attack was reported by another surfer about 11 a.m. off the coast of Surf Beach in Lompoc, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

The victim “had a friend who he was surfing with who saw the shark bite or hit the man,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Mark A. Williams. “His friend ended up swimming over and pulling him from the water where he received first aid.”

The friend started first aid while another surfer called for help, but the male victim was prwonounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

The Air Force said only that the victim was 38 years old and was not affiliated with the base, which allows public access to some of its beaches.

The type of shark involved and other details were under investigation.

Williams said the man’s identity will be released after his next of kin are notified.

It was the latest shark attack fatality at Surf Beach, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

In October 2010, Lucas Ransom, a 19-year-old student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, died when a shark nearly severed his leg as he body-boarded.

Hundreds of miles south near the coast of San Diego, a 15-foot great white shark is believed to have killed triathlete David Martin in 2008.

Last month, warning signs were posted at Santa Barbara Harbor, about 65 miles southeast of Surf Beach, after a 14-foot great white shark was spotted by a surfer.

Similar shark sightings occurred along California’s Central Coast throughout the summer and warnings were issued.

In July, a man escaped injury near Santa Cruz after being thrown from his kayak by a great white shark that bit through the vessel. An almost identical incident occurred off the coast of Cambria in May.

Death by shark attack is rare. An average of 65 shark attacks occur every year around the world that typically result in two or three deaths, according to the Pew Environment Group.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Please review our Policies and Procedures before registering or commenting

News Tribune - comments