July 20, 2011

5-Year Old Suffers Shark Bite off Ocracoke Island

Multiple media outlets are reporting that a 5 year old was attacked by what appears to be a shark off of Ocracoke Island.

Shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday, Hyde County emergency crews and personnel from the National Park Service responded to a call about a shark attack at Ramp 72 on Ocracoke Island.

The young girl had been in shallow water on her boogie board when the attack occurred. She was bitten on the lower portion of her right leg and on her foot. Fortunately, her mother
was watching her from 10 feet away and was able to come to her immediate aid.

The five year old victim was transported by an air ambulance to Pitt County Memorial Hospital for treatment. As of Wednesday morning, the girl is in critical condition.

This is the second shark bite in NC this year (the first occurred at North Topsail on June 26th. Last year, there were five reported shark bites in North Carolina and four in South Carolina. Florida had 13 reported shark incidents.

Photo credit: Outer Banks - a recent video posted on Youtube of a surf fisherman on Ocracoke Island pulling in a 5' (approx) bull shark.

[Correction: This afternoon, the park service stated that the victim was six years old as of March of this year.]

[Update: NBC 17 reports that the family releasd the following statement: "Our daughter is in good condition after receiving a shark bite to the right leg. The shark attack occurred in two feet of water on Ocracoke Island. Mom was ten feet away and witnessed the event. Paramedics arrived promptly and she received excellent medical attention from EMS personnel, life-flight crew, and Pitt County Memorial Hospital medical staff in Greenville. She is in good spirits, declaring this morning that, "I hate sharks. I like dolphins way better. From this point forward, we will not be releasing any additional information about her condition. Also, we will not be granting any media interviews. Thank you for respecting our privacy."

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