UPDATE (7:15 p.m.): Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard say a 37-year-old man is lucky to be alive after being bit by a shark while surfing near Santa Rosa Island.
Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles Long Beach watchstanders say the man was bit by a shark on his leg and his friend was able to help him swim back to their boat and call for help around 3:15 p.m.
A Forward Operating Base Mugu MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and a a Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor boat crew with a Ventura County paramedic were sent to respond according to a press release.
About an hour later, crews then airlifted the man and his friend to the Santa Barbara Airport where the men then traveled by ambulance to Cottage Hospital.
"This was the best possible outcome to a truly terrifying situation,” said Lt. Benjamin McIntyre-Coble, the Coast Guard Sector-Los Angeles Long Beach command duty officer in a statement. “This individual was fortunate to be with a buddy who was able to communicate their position to the Coast Guard. We are all happy that he will be able to be with his family in time for the holidays.”
Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station San Francisco FOB Mugu medevacs shark bite victim to saftey and transports him to Santa Barbara Airport where EMTs awaited. pic.twitter.com/zyDewiQWpU— USCG Los Angeles (@USCGLosAngeles) December 22, 2019
The two were located about 30 miles from Santa Barbara.
Officials credit the man who was bit for using the buddy system while surfing far from resources that could rescue them.
He is expected to make a full recovery.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Ventura County Fire Department is responding to reports of a shark bite near Santa Rosa Island.
In a tweet, fire officials said paramedics used a U.S Coast Guard helicopter to reach the shark bite victim.
Authorities say the victim was bitten on the leg and was airlifted to Cottage Hospital.
#SantaRosaIncident Update: The bite victim was transported by @uscoastguard copter prior to @VCFD FFs arrival by boat. The patient is being transported to Cottage Hospital. They’re reported to be in stable condition with a tourniquet on their leg. Unknown shark type. pic.twitter.com/IMqa9Ii7Fe— VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) December 22, 2019
Officials say the victim is in stable condition with a tourniquet on their leg.
Responders are unsure of the shark type.