North Carolina Shark Attacks Are 'Real Deal Threat,' Expert Says

Two teenagers were injured in separate shark attacks along the same stretch of beach in North Carolina over the weekend, losing limbs in incidents that took place within just a few miles of each other. The attacks happened at Oak Island, according to Fox News, and resulted in life threatening injuries for both victims. Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace related that a 12-year-old girl had lost part of her left arm and could potentially lose her left leg following her run-in with a shark. A 16-year-old boy, who was attacked by a shark less than two hours later, similarly lost his left arm.

The first shark attack spurred a call to Brunswick County Dispatchers shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday. The second attack took place around 5:30 p.m., roughly two miles away from the first incident, according to ABC News. After calling beachgoers out of the water, the Brunswick County Sheriff's office dispatched teams to search for any sharks that may have been involved in the attacks. Though the beaches will reopen on Monday, authorities say they will encourage people to stay out of the water.

"The Brunswick County Sheriff's department will have Marine One and their helicopter support to monitor the coastline for any activities tomorrow," Town manager Tim Holloman said.

The close proximity of the attacks makes them a rarity, according to George Burgess of the University of Florida, who is responsible for publishing the International Shark Attack File. Though he has been studying sharks for four decades, Burgess likened the events at Oak Island to previous incidents that have only rarely been recorded.

"This is the real deal threat," he observed. "This is highly unusual -- I have seen this twice in 40 years. Once in Egypt and once in the Florida Panhandle."

The dual shark attacks at Oak Island took place just 30 miles from the site of another attack that happened earlier in the week. As the Inquisitr previously reported, a 13-year-old girl was bitten by a shark on Thursday, suffering lacerations to her foot while near Ocean Isle Beach.

Though the species of shark responsible for the Oak Island attacks has yet to be identified, the seriousness of the teens' injuries has led some experts to speculate that either tiger or bull sharks could be responsible. Larger sharks that are known to attack humans, bull and tiger sharks are capable of inflicting serious injuries, and can at times move into shallower water near beaches.

Both of the victims were airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, and were in stable condition on Sunday night following the shark attacks.

[Photo by Steve Bouser/ The Pilot, Southern Pines, N.C. via ABC News]