5 Scariest Shark Attacks in SoCal History
Now that we're officially in the thick of summer, you'd be a lousy Southern Californian if you didn't take your board down to the beach and get your water-sport on. (Even Lindsay Lohan's trying. Key word "trying.")
But because we're part of the fear-mongering mainstream-media machine, and we can't let you enjoy anything without first instilling an uneasy feeling that something could go terribly wrong...
... we'd like to bring to your attention the worst-case scenario of surfing (or swimming) SoCal: getting bit by a great white shark.
Forget the fact that you're more likely to be killed in a freak vending-machine accident than in the jaws of a shark. We've always hated that argument, because a vending-machine death would be so much less awful. Right? Something about seeing those big sharp teeth sink into your flesh, reminding you that you're not necessarily at the top of the food chain, makes a shark attack (or any wild-animal attack, really) the worst way to go.
Of the 40 shark attacks recorded in Southern California since 1926, here are the five scariest -- or at least the ones with the most nail-biting details available in news reports. (To really get the paranoia surging, check out the Shark Research Committee's extensive log of all great-white sightings off the California coast.)
5. Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Barbara County
Lucas Ransom, 19, was surfing with his friend Matthew Garcia on a reportedly "glassy" Friday morning when a shark latched onto the teen and his red boogie board. Terrifyingly, Garcia later told reporters that Ransom had cried "Help me, dude" before getting pulled under -- leaving behind only a "river of blood." When he was finally pulled from the water, rescuers saw that his entire left leg had been bitten off, causing the young athlete to bleed to death. His mother was left with a final tragic text from her son: "You wouldn't believe these waves, Mom. I can't wait to get to them."