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Officials try to identify type of shark that killed bodyboarder at Surf Beach

October 24, 2010 |  8:15 am

Three beaches in Santa Barbara County remain closed after a shark attack Friday that killed a body surfer.

According to officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base, federal and state wildlife officials were working
to "identify the type of shark involved in the attack." They said Wall, Minuteman and Surf beaches would be closed at least until Monday but perhaps longer.

The attack occurred Friday morning at Surf Beach. Victim Lucas Ransom's left leg was severed at the pelvis, his parents said.

Shark attack Witnesses told authorities that 19-year-old Ransom, a UC Santa Barbara student, and a friend were about 100 yards offshore when the attack occurred. Fire personnel from Vandenberg Air Force Base pronounced Ransom dead at the scene. Authorities quickly closed Surf Beach and two other beaches nearby for at least 72 hours. Surf Beach is on Vandenberg's 42 miles of coastline, but the public has access to it from California Highway 246.

A shark expert told The Times on Friday that, based on its behavior and Ransom's injury, it most likely was a great white.

"It takes a shark of massive size and jaw to inflict that kind of injury," said Andrew Nosal of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Airman 1st class Daniel Clark, left, and Staff Sgt. Keri Embry post a warning sign at Surf Beach on Vandenberg Air Force Base property on Oct. 21, 2010, after a fatal shark attack. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Associated Press