A shark bit a teenager surfing off the coast of Florida on Saturday – the tenth known attack in this area this year.
The nameless 17-year-old surfed off the coast of Ormond Beach, a popular tourist spot in east central Florida, at about 4:00 p.m. local time when a shark bit his right leg, said Captain Tamra Malphurs of the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.
Before the attack, the teenager was waist-deep in the water. The victim lost his surfboard when he swam between the shore and a sandbar. The shark bit him when he tried to retrieve his board.
The teenager was taken to a local hospital. He needed stitches, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
The attack is the tenth this year in the Volusia district and surpasses the nine attacks registered in 2019.
Shark attacks in the district usually happen at the jetty in New Smyrna Beach, Malphurs told the Daytona News Journal, but they can strike elsewhere. Because of the relatively high number of attacks that take place in New Smyrna Beach, this place is informally referred to as the “Shark Attack Capital”.
In September, 48-year-old Eric Bowman became the ninth victim of a shark attack in Volusia County this year, after two incidents occurred in the area on the same number of days. Bowman was waist-deep in water near the town of Daytona Beach Shores when he felt something bite his left foot, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported at the time. Bowman said he did not see what bit him, but it quickly released him. Bowman was left with minor cuts and a puncture wound and was treated at the scene.
The day before, a shark had bitten a surfer’s hand while paddling near a jetty in the Volusia County town of Ponce Inlet. Cole Smyth needed surgery to repair the damage to his hand and had to be stitched with 40 stitches. It is suspected that a bull or tiger shark bit him.
It was not clear what kind of sharks had bitten Bowman or the teenage surfer.
Malphurs was asked to give advice to those concerned about shark attacks in Volusia County, Malphurs told Washington Newsday: “When people hear about shark bites, it can sound scary, but we want people to know that rip currents are a greater danger than sharks. We strongly advise people to always swim in front of a lifeguard”.
Malphurs said that bait fish in the water or birds diving for food are a sign that large fish are feeding in the area and it is advisable to temporarily disappear until they are gone.