North Carolina Youths in Stable Condition after Losing Limbs in Shark Attack

By Published on June 15, 2015

Two North Carolina kids were reported in stable condition late Sunday after losing limbs in separate shark attacks approximately two hours apart.

Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace told the Wilmington Star-News that a 12-year-old girl lost part of her left arm and might lose her left leg, while a 16-year-old boy lost his left arm. Oak Island, where the attacks occurred, is about 25 miles southwest of Wilmington.

Brian Watts, Brunswick County’s emergency management director, told the newspaper Sunday that both victims were out of surgery. Wallace said the girl was not from the area, but was visiting family. There was no immediate information about the 16-year-old boy.

Both attacks happened near the Ocean Crest Fishing Pier, a popular destination among beachgoers, Fox 8 reports, and bait in the water could have attracted the sharks.

George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History, told the Wilmington Star-News that sharks seen along Carolina coasts are blacktip and spinner sharks, about 6 to 7 feet long.

He added that the sharks do bite people in “mistaken identity situations,” in which the sharks think a human’s splashing arms of legs are activities of normal prey.

Brunswick County Dispatchers said they received the call at 4:12 p.m. and several agencies responded to the scene, including Oak Island Police. The second incident was reported at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Oak Island town manager sent an ATV to get everyone out of the water, the mayor said. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s office sent a helicopter up and down the coast to patrol.

Steve Bouser and his wife were at the beach, and just beginning a weeklong vacation, when he said people began yelling, “Come in! Get out of the water! Get out of the water!

“I saw someone carry this girl (out of the water) and people were swarming around and trying to help,” he told The Associated Press Sunday evening. “It was quite terrible.”

Bouser said there was a lot of blood and people were trying to apply makeshift tourniquets to stop the bleeding. He added that people were asking her questions to try to keep her conscious.

“You’ve got this nice beach scene going on, and the next moment is just a nightmare,” Bouser told the Wilmington Star-News.

“It was so much like a scene from Jaws,” his wife Brenda added.

Tim Holloman, Oak Island’s town manager, said Sunday that beaches will be open Monday, but he encouraged beachgoers to be “a little more beach oriented.”

“Oak Island is still a safe place,” Holloman said, noting that Brunswick County’s boat, Marine One, and helicopter, Air One, will be in the area, according to the Wilmington Star-News. “We’re monitoring the situation. This is highly unusual.”

The two attacks came days after a 13-year-old girl was bitten by a shark on the same beach. In the Thursday attack, the girl, who was riding a boogie board, suffered lacerations on her foot and was treated at a local hospital.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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