Another shark attack occurred in North Carolina’s Outer Banks Wednesday. This is the third attack this week, the seventh attack in the state in less than three weeks and the 24th in the United States this year.
A 6 to 7-foot shark pulled a 68-year-old man underwater and bit him several times in waist-deep waters, according to authorities. USA Today reports that despite bites in his hip, hands, lower leg and rib cage, the man was able to swim close enough to shore to gain lifeguard assistance. The man was swimming with his adult son when he was attacked.
No other swimmers were injured in the attack and the man was airlifted from Ocracoke Island to a hospital in Greenville, Washington Post reports.
Two other shark attacks occurred over the weekend in North Carolina’s Outer Banks waters. One shark seriously injured a teenage boy Saturday, and a 47-year-old man managed to escape injuries by punching the shark in the head. And 12-year-old Kiersten Yow lost part of her arm last month when a shark attacked her off the coast of North Carolina.
In light of the recent attacks, her Facebook support pages left a message warning swimmers to be careful in the waters. The page stated that they hope any other “survivors have the same support and feel the love we have” and reminds survivors to “stay strong.”
Usually, only one or two shark attacks occur per year. And according to information from the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, the yearly count nationwide is between 30 and 40. Only one attack has been fatal this year.
The increase in attacks is causing major concerns as Fourth of July weekend approaches. George Burgess, director of the Shark Attack File, said that he guarantees there will be a couple of attacks this weekend. Hyde County, N.C. will have two ambulances, with paramedic level services, and one on call over the weekend.
Burgess added that South Carolina has also seen its fair share of attacks. Hours after the 68-year-old man was attacked, a 12-year-old boy was attacked in South Carolina’s waters. Isle of Palm County park officials said that the boy was bitten in the leg and suffered minor injuries.
And in Florida, the most common place for attacks, there have been 11 incidents this year. Though they have not received a lot of attention, hopefully they will serve as warnings for future swimmers.