A man believed to be 50 to 55 years old died while surfing near Coal Oil Point on Sunday afternoon after suffering what officials said they believe was a heart attack.
At about 2:25 p.m., Rescue Seven, firefighters and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. were dispatched to the 6800 block of Del Playa Drive after a report of a man suffering a heart attack in the water.
The man was on his surfboard approximately 100 feet offshore when nearby surfers noticed him having difficulty, Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. Capt. Thadias King said.
King said rescuers were on the scene within minutes of the call; however, surfers had been in the water holding up the unconscious man and trying to recover him for some time before anyone onshore noticed the problem and phoned dispatch. Two responders paddled out to the man with a rescue board and paddled him back to the beach with help from the surfers.
“They put him on a rescue board and transferred him to the beach where they did some work – giving him shots and medication, and administering CPR – and then transferred him to the ambulance, in which he was taken to Goleta Cottage,” King said.
Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital’s Supervising Nurse Linda Lang said the man was pronounced dead shortly after he was brought into the hospital.
“Resuscitation was attempted; however, it was unsuccessful,” she said. “What the cause of actual cause of death was, we don’t know.”
The man’s family has been notified, but as of Sunday evening his name was unavailable to the media.