Shark Attack Victim Was an “Awesome Guy”

Lucas Ransom was about 100 yards from shore at Surf Beach when the shark attacked

A 19-year-old college student killed in a shark attack was described as "an awesome guy" who enjoyed being in the water.

"He really loved living life to the fullest," father Matthew Ransom told the TODAY show. "He just wanted to have fun, and he was safe about most things."

Lucas Ransom was bodyboarding Friday with a friend and disappeared under the water off Surf Beach. He emerged in a pool of blood with his leg badly mauled and died shortly after.

The two were about 100 yards off shore when the shark attacked. Ransom's board had a bite mark.

Candace Ransom, Lucas' mother, said she tried to talk her son out of going in the water Friday.

"I said, 'Honey, if they're so pretty why don't you just sit and watch them. You're at a place you've never been to before,'" Candace Ransom told the Press-Enterpise. "He said, 'Mom, don't worry, I'll be fine and I'll call you when I finish up.'"

His brother, Travis, liked to ride waves with Lucas.

"It's hard to put into words, what you feel out there," Travis said. "Nothing else matters when you're riding waves. It's just a great feeling, and I know he shared it before the event happened."

The last such attack at Surf Beach was in 2008, when a shark bit a surfer's board. A great white shark killed a woman in 2003 at Avila Beach, about 30 miles north of Vandenberg.

Ransom was a competitve swimmer at Perris High School. He was attending UC Santa Barbara and majoring in chemical engineering.

"He was just a genuinely good person to be around," said Jeff Rupert, who worked with Ransom at the Murrieta Community Pool.

In 2007, Ransom preformed CPR to rescue a boy at the pool.

"Lucas was a hero that day," Rupert said. "He administered rescue breathing and saved a young boy's life."

Candace Ransom said her son always tried to make a difference for other people. She said she hopes to set up a chemical engineering scholarship in her son's name.

"His personality was bigger than life," she said. "I really feel blessed. He was the kind of person that had such a radiance about him. His eyes sparkled and his smile would melt your heart."

Vandenberg Air Force Base -- which owns the three beaches north of Santa Barbara where the attack took place -- said officials will reopened the beach Monday. Spokeswoman Ann Blodzinski said the base has been operating patrols to keep people off the beaches but has not been searching the water.


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There have been no reports of other shark sightings.

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