Shark “came fully out of the water” to attack surfer in Florida
Two people in Florida are recovering from separate weekend shark attacks that are creating new concern about safety. Witnesses in Jacksonville described a “Jaws”-like scene there. Competitive surfer Franklyn O’Rourke said a shark latched onto his arm.
His friend, R.J. Berger, witnessed the terrifying incident. “The shark pretty much came fully out of the water. His tail, like, splashed everywhere,” he said.
Around 100 miles away on the same day, there was another attack, this time in New Smyrna Beach, near Daytona. Florida officials say an Arizona man was bitten on the leg while riding a boogie board.
The 49-year-old had lacerations and was treated, but is expected to be okay.
New Smyrna Beach is known as the “shark bite capital of the world.” Since the late 1800s, there have been more than 300 unprovoked shark attacks in Volusia County, where New Smyrna Beach is located. That’s compared to 162 in the entire state of Hawaii, and 124 in all of California since 1837.
A few weeks ago, ain New Smyrna, showing a shark swimming dangerously close to his children. They all escaped safely.
Meanwhile, just last week, there were a reported 21 shark sightings in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This summer beaches have been repeatedly closed there as a precaution.
Correspondent Don Dahler met earlier this month with Orleans fire chief Anthony Pike in Cape Cod, where he is working to keep beachgoers safe. He helped install emergency response kits in case someone is bitten, and added shark warning signs.
Dahler asked, “Do you think people are afraid, or do they accept that this is now part of life here?”
“I think we’re undergoing a culture change here,” Pike replied.
“Any chance this might be scaring people?”
“I think we’re at a point where people need to realize the seriousness of using the ocean this time of year,” he said.
Marine biologist Stephen Kajiura, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, said that when someone is bitten by a shark, it’s usually because they’ve been mistaken for food.
“There tend to be more shark bites in the summer, just because there tends to be more people in the water,” Kajiura said. “I think that’s what happens more than anything: It’s sharks biting a person, realizing, ‘Oh, you’re not a fish,’ and then leaving the person alone. But of course then, the person has a bunch of little tooth marks.”
Experts say there are a few things people can do to protect themselves from an attack, like avoiding the water at night, dusk and dawn, when the sharks are most active.
Also: avoid wearing shiny jewelry and brightly-colored bathing suits, which can attract sharks.
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