Oak Island, North Carolina – Two North Carolina teenagers were attacked by (a) shark(s) yesterday less than two miles apart. The beach was not closed after the first attack …and it is open again today, even with sightings of sharks in the area. Local officials sent an ATV to get people out of the water yesterday after the attacks.
A 12 year old girl lost her left arm below the elbow, and suffered a leg injury when a shark attacked her as she swam in waist deep water. The incident was reported at around 4:12 pm on Sunday.
A 16 year old boy lost his arm less than two miles away. Authorities cannot confirm that the same shark attacked both teens.
Both teens were airlifted to a Wilmington hospital and are said to be in stable condition today. Officials credit quick thinking bystanders with saving their lives, as the intense bleeding from the wounds might have produced a different outcome.
A scene from Jaws
A witness described the boy as screaming “Is this real? Is this a movie?” Unfortunately, it was not a movie. Officials said that there was no time between attacks to close down the beaches because “it happened so fast.” Yet this morning, even as more sharks were observed in the waters, the beaches had been reopened.
Authorities felt that the sharks were possibly “Black-tipped” and Spinner” sharks, which average around 6-7 feet in length, and are often seen around the North Carolina shoreline. Bait in the water could have been the reason for attracting the sharks, as the incidents occurred not far from a fishing pier.
The attacks occurred at Oak Island, where another girl was badly bitten last week. The swimmers were approximately 20 feet from the shore. Experts say that sharks often bite people in incidents of “mistaken identity.”
The Mayor and emergency authorities for Oak Island say that it is still a “safe place.” They are encouraging people to stay in shallow water while swimming. The Mayor stated that even if they had been able to get the word out after the first attack, it might not have reached any other beaches in the area.