Seventh Shark Attack Reported In North Carolina, Third In Outer Banks

A beachgoer was injured by a shark on Wednesday in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, during the seventh such attack to occur in recent months, and the third in a week.

Andrew Costello, 68, was swimming just off a beach on Ocracoke Island, directly in front of a lifeguard station, when witnesses say he was approached by a six- to seven-foot-long gray shark. Though Costello was in waist deep water, just 30 feet from the shore, the shark pulled him under the surface when it attacked him.

Costello was able to swim closer to shore following the attack, and lifeguards helped him out of the water, according to CBS News. He suffered injuries to his rib cage, hip, lower leg, and hands during his encounter with the shark. Costello’s adult son was in the water with him at the time, but was uninjured in the attack. On Thursday, the Boston Herald reported that Costello is their former Editor-in-Chief.

The attack represents the seventh such incident to occur in North Carolina in recent months, a marked increase over the yearly average in the region. It is also the third shark attack to occur in the Outer Banks in the last week, as both a teenager and 47-year-old man were injured in separate attacks last week, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

According to the International Shark Attack File, which tracks the incidents, the North Carolina coastline hasn’t seen this much shark activity in any of the previous 80 years for which records are kept. The highest number of attacks previously stood at five, which occurred in 2010.

Researchers have pointed to an increased number of beachgoers headed to the shore as a possible reason behind the rise in attacks, as USA Today reports. Still, according to Sam Gruber, director of the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas, the number of shark incidents reported this year is far beyond average.

“When I first heard of the shark attacks, I was fairly surprised, because I know the Carolinas are not a hot spot for shark attacks,” he related. “… I think something strange is going on, because the trend is normally a zero or one attacks in that area in any one year. Maybe you get two…. By strange, I mean it’s way out of proportion to the average.”

Costello was transported by helicopter to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he is now listed in fair condition. Despite the seventh shark attack along the North Carolina coast, beachgoers were back in the ocean just a few hours later.

[Image: DJ Harrison via People]