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Shark bites surfer in the leg off Southern California coast

The victim was transported to a Santa Barbara hospital by helicopter.

A surfer was attacked by a shark Saturday off the coast of Santa Rosa Island in Southern California, authorities said.

The 37-year-old man was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Santa Barbara, about 38 miles away, where he was treated and ultimately stabilized, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Petty Officer Mark Varney said the surfer had been bitten on his right leg.

The victim and a friend were chasing waves in the early afternoon when the man was attacked, the Coast Guard said, adding that someone aboard a nearby boat called authorities.

The Ventura County Fire Department tweeted that it wasn't immediately clear what kind of shark was involved.

Waves in Southern California Saturday were reported at 3 to 5 feet, with water temperature in the high 50s.

"This individual was fortunate to be with a buddy who was able to communicate their position to the Coast Guard," Lt. Benjamin McIntyre-Coble said in a statement. "We are all happy that he will be able to be with his family in time for the holidays."

Santa Rosa Island is part of the Channel Islands.