Lucas Ransom, a 19-year-old UCSB student, was attacked and killed by a shark Friday morning while boogie boarding at Surf Beach by the Vandenberg Airforce Base.
According to a Santa Barbara Sheriff’s office press release, Lucas was in the water approximately 100 yards off the beach at 8:50 a.m. when a shark suddenly appeared and towed him underwater. Lucas sustained a massive wound to his left leg from the attack.
Matthew Garcia, a 20-year-old UCSB student and Lucas’ roommate, was just two feet away from his friend when the shark struck. Garcia told the Associated Press that Lucas called for help, but was quickly pulled under.
“It was really fast. You just saw a red wave and this water is blue — as blue as it could ever be — and it was just red, the whole wave,” he said.
Garcia managed to find Lucas and performed chest compressions as he swam his friend to shore. Unfortunately, it was already too late, as Ransom had lost a significant amount of blood.
A detective from the Santa Barbara Coroner’s Office pronounced Lucas dead at the scene.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux confirmed that Lucas was a third-year chemical engineering major from Romoland, a city located in Riverside County, California.
Hannah Meade, a third-year global studies major, said she met Lucas when they were on the same floor in Santa Catalina residence hall.
“He was always there for you, he’d always have some compliment for you. He was so sweet, I’ve literally never seen him angry,” she said.
Meade said she learned of the attack after she heard Lucas’ girlfriend crying outside.
“I just couldn’t believe it and, once it sunk in, then the hysterics began,” she said. “It was hell that morning…We had to tell each one of [Lucas’ roommates] one by one.”
Lucas attended Perris High School and worked as a lifeguard at a Murrieta, Calif. community pool. Garcia and Lucas were on their high school’s water polo and swim teams together, and were roommates.
The shark was described as being approximately 14 to 20 feet in length. Officials said due to the size and the description Garcia provided, they assume the shark was a great white.
“There was no sign, there was nothing. It was all very fast, very stealth,” Garcia said.
Surf Beach is known for large swells and high winds. Ted White, a Goleta resident and long-time board and kite surfer, said Surf Beach is also notorious for its strong currents and shark sightings.
“Last time I was there [at Surf Beach], there was a sign on notebook paper posted at the entrance, that said ‘15 foot white shark seen in the water,’” White said. “It’s just really sharky, that’s why I don’t even try to surf there.”
Surf Beach saw a similar incident in 2008 when what was believed to be a great white attacked a surfer, damaging the board but leaving the surfer unharmed.
A candlelight vigil will be held tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. at the open space at the corner of Del Playa Drive and Camino Pescadero. Meade said the memorial is open to the public.
“It would be really cool if everyone could bring a lit candle,” Meade said. “People will tell stories about Luke and there will be someone playing guitar. I just want people to feel love and talk about Luke.”