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Shark bites 14-year-old Missouri boy in 4th attack in a week, Florida officials say

Olivia Lloyd, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in News & Features

A 14-year-old boy from Missouri was bitten by a shark while visiting a Florida beach, officials said.

Wednesday's incident marks the fourth shark attack in Volusia County in the span of a week.

Shortly before noon, the teen was standing in knee-deep water in Daytona Beach Shores when the shark bit his left foot, sending him to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Volusia County Beach Safety.

The type of shark is unknown.

The attack comes only two days after another 14-year-old was bitten about six miles down the coast in Ponce Inlet, McClatchy News reported. The teen was attending junior lifeguard camp when he dove into the water and landed on top of a shark, which bit his calf, officials said.

After the incident, he told WOFL he doesn’t think there’s “really anything to be scared of.”

“Because I think that it’s something really rare that can happen,” he told the outlet. “And if it’s happened once, I doubt it’s going to happen again.”

On July 4, an Ohio tourist was bitten while playing football, and the next day, a man from Sarasota, Florida, was bitten while wading in an inner tube, McClatchy News reported.

Volusia County has been unofficially dubbed the “shark bite capital of the world,” according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, and data suggests that name may have some merit.

The International Shark Attack File has recorded 351 unprovoked attacks in Volusia County, far more than any other county in Florida and more than any other single state in the U.S.

 

Shark attacks are “extremely rare,” according to John Carlson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“You have a better chance of getting in a car accident and being injured on your way to the beach than you do actually when you get to go swimming,” he said in a video posted to NOAA’s website.

In 2023, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File investigated 120 shark-human interactions worldwide. Of those interactions, 69 were unprovoked shark bites, and there were 14 “shark-related fatalities.”

If you see a shark in the water, however, don’t panic, Richard Peirce, former chair of the Shark Trust and Shark Conservation Society, told CNN.

“Don’t start splashing around – you’re just going to excite, incite and encourage the shark’s interest,” he told the news outlet.

Instead, maintain eye contact with the shark and read its body language. If the shark appears to be in “attack mode,” you should make yourself as large as possible, CNN reported. If it seems to just be swimming by, try to stay small.

If the shark attacks, experts told CNN you shouldn’t play dead.

“You must try and keep the animal in sight and very slowly and gently try and swim backwards and get into shallow water,” Peirce told CNN. “Again, you’ve got to be careful – large sharks can attack in very shallow depths.”

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©2024 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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