Shark Bites Child in Third North Carolina Attack This Season

June 17, 2019 Updated: June 17, 2019

BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C.—North Carolina officials say a shark bit an 8-year-old boy in what is now the third attack this season along the North Carolina coast.

News outlets report the boy was swimming in open water Sunday afternoon when a shark grabbed him by the leg, causing multiple bite wounds.

WECT reports the child was transported on a ferry to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The boy is the third person to be attacked by a shark in the state this month.

Last week, a 19-year-old was bitten by a shark in Ocean Isle, about 100 miles down the same coastline from where a 17-year-old girl lost most of her leg to a shark attack at Fort Macon State Park earlier this month.

17-year-old Girl Loses Leg and Fingers After Shark Attack

Earlier this month, 17-year-old Paige Winter was swimming with her father at Fort Macon State Park when she went below the surface of the water, said Charlie Winter, her dad.

“I went straight to where the pink was, and I dove under, and I grabbed her,” he told CBS News last week. “When I pulled her up, a shark came up with her—it was a big shark, and I immediately started to hit it. I hit it with everything I could, and it let go.”

“I am still going to do all of the stuff they can do—I am going to be able to walk, I am going to be able to write. I am still the same old Paige,” she said, according to Inside Edition. “When I was in that water, I was praying. I was like, ‘I am 17, I got so much to do.’”

In the attack, she lost part of her left leg and several fingers.

And a few days after the attack and amputation, she said in a statement, “although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay.”

“Thank you to the care team at Vidant Medical Center, who is continuing to provide excellent care. I know I have a long road to recovery, which includes additional surgeries. I will continue to stay positive and be thankful that it was not worse.”

According to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida in Gainesville, there were 32 unprovoked shark attacks in the United States in 2018, accounting for 48 percent of the total, worldwide.

A Danger or Endangered?

Sharks in their interactions with humans have acquired a fearsome reputation that, according to National Geographic, is not justified.

“The United States averages just 16 shark attacks each year and slightly less than one shark-attack fatality every two years,” writes National Geographic’s Brian Handwerk. “Meanwhile, in the coastal U.S. states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 41 people each year.”

Data from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF), a database of all known shark attacks, shows that humans pose a greater threat to sharks than vice versa.

“On average, there are only six fatalities attributable to unprovoked attacks by sharks worldwide, each year. By contrast, fisheries kill about 100 million sharks and rays annually.”

A comparison of dog attack fatalities (364) versus shark attack fatalities (11) in the United States for the years 2001-2010 shows that canines pose a considerably higher risk to humans than the much-maligned sharks.

Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek,  Jack Philips, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.