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Shark Attacks Kayakers Off Santa Barbara County Coast

POINT CONCEPTION ( — A group of kayakers issued distress calls twice on Friday near Point Conception after coming under attack from a shark.

Officials closed the Santa Barbara County beach nearby following the attacks.

Meanwhile the kayakers thanked Lou and Charles Christman, who heard the first distress call while fishing for sea bass about 60 miles north of the Santa Barbara Harbor, where they put their boat named Elizabeth Ann in the water.

The Christmans found one kayak fisherman clinging to a kayak damaged by what was thought to be a great white shark.

"This thing, his jaws were probably...this is probably a 16- to 18-foot shark, it was a big one," Charles Christman told KCOY/KEYT reporter Tracy Lehr.

"I saw a splash ... a few feet out of the water, and thought, 'Wow, that's kind of weird,'" said Lou Christman. "Suddenly you hear 'Mayday, mayday, mayday,' on the radio. And so I picked up immediately. I'm like, 'Roger, where are you at?'"

The Christmans rescued the kayaker and two of his friends. They pulled the men onto their boat and towed their kayaks, and dropped them off at Vandenberg Air Force base's boathouse.

About an hour later, three of their friends who had continued to fish from their kayaks in the area called for help as well.

The Christmans found another man on a badly damaged kayak and rescued him and his friends.

"The shark had knocked this guy out of the water, probably 8 or 9 feet through the air," said Charles Christman. "It came out of the water and it punched about six or eight holes in the kayak. The kayak was sinking."

While they did not catch any fish, the Christmas had quite a story to tell at the end of the day.

"My heart's beating right now," Charles Christman said, "because it was such an adrenaline rush."

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