VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE (AP) — The victim of a fatal shark attack at a beach northwest of Los Angeles cried out to his friend for help as the shark flashed out of the water with no warning, bit into his leg and pulled him under in a tide of red blood, the friend said Friday.
Matthew Garcia was two feet away from his friend, 19-year-old Lucas Ransom, when the shark attacked with no warning, he said. The whole attack lasted seconds.
“When the shark hit him, he just said, ‘Help me, dude!’ He knew what was going on,” Garcia told the AP. “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. Even the barrel was red.”
As huge waves broke over his head, Garcia tried to find his friend in the surf but couldn’t. He decided to get help, but turned around once more as he was swimming to shore and saw Ransom’s red body board pop up. Garcia swam to his friend and did chest compressions as he brought him to shore.
Ransom already appeared dead and his leg was mauled, he said.
“He was just floating in the water. I flipped him over on his back and underhooked his arms. I was pressing on his chest and doing rescue breathing in the water,” Garcia said. “He was just kind of lifeless, just dead weight.”
The University of California, Santa Barbara, junior had a severe wound to his left leg and died a short time later at Surf Beach, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens Reports
The beach, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, is on the property of Vandenberg Air Force Base but is open to the public.
Sheriff’s deputies patrolled the coastline to search for Ransom’s missing leg but were only able to recover the boogie board, which had a 1-foot segment on the side bitten off.
Federal and state Fish and Game officials were working to identify the type of shark that attacked Ransom.
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