July 1, 2015


Swimmer on Ocracoke bitten by shark
By IRENE NOLAN



A swimmer on Ocracoke was bitten by a shark this afternoon while swimming off a beach in Ocracoke.

According to the National Park Service, the incident was reported about 12:30 p.m. near the lifeguarded beach.

NPS rangers and lifeguards responded, along with the  Hyde County Sheriff’s Office, Hyde County Emergency Medical Services, and the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.

According to the Park Service, first responders found a 67-year-old man who had sustained injuries to his lower left torso and hip, lower left leg, and both hands.  He had been swimming about 25- 30 feet offshore in about waist-deep water with his adult son.  There were no other swimmers injured.
 
The victim was treated at the scene and then transported by ambulance to the Ocracoke Airport for transport by East Care Airflight to Pitt Memorial, in Greenville, N.C., for further care.

It is the third report of a shark bite in the seashore in the past week.

On Saturday, June 27, an 18-year-old man received bites to his calf, buttocks, and both hands while swimming in about 3 feet of water about 20 feet offshore in Waves on Hatteras Island.  That incident happened about 4 p.m., and the victim was transported by helicopter to a Norfolk hospital where he was reported in serious but stable condition on Sunday.

On Friday, June 26, a 47-year-old man was bitten on his buttocks and back while in relatively shallow water in Avon, about a mile north of the Avon Fishing Pier. That incident was reported about 11:40 a.m. and the victim was also transported by helicopter to a Norfolk hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Ocracoke incident is the seventh reported shark attack in a month's time in North Carolina.  Four others have occurred south of the Outer Banks -- two at Oak Island and one each at Ocean Isle and Surf City.

Before yesterday, the last reported shark attack on the seashore was in 2012 when a woman was bitten on her leg while she was swimming in shallow water near the Avon Fishing Pier.

In 2011, a 6-year-old girl was airlifted to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville after she was bitten by a shark on an Ocracoke beach. That attack happened about 5:30 in the afternoon, also in shallow water.  The child was on a boogie board, and the shark was reported to have been about 4 or 5 feet long.

Before that, the last shark attack on the seashore was on Sept. 3, 2001, off the beach at Avon when a 28-year-old Russian visitor was killed and his 23-year-old girlfriend critically injured.  A bull shark was suspected in that attack.

Sharks experts interviewed for a story published yesterday in The Island Free Press attribute the spate of attacks to warmer than usual water and plentiful food for the sharks.

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