Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue reported that on Sunday, New Smyrna Beach saw three of its beachgoers get bitten by sharks. The three surfers received the shark bites within a few hours of each other and reportedly all the attacks occurred within the same area of the beach.
With a commonly used title like “shark bite capital of the world,” New Smyrna Beach is no stranger to visits from sharks that get a little frisky, but fortunately none of the three persons that were bit on Sunday suffered from very serious injuries. In fact, only two of those attacked had to be taken to the hospital, as the third person was only left with a minor laceration after the shark bites.
The very first shark bite occurred at 10:40 a.m. this morning, when a 43-year-old Longwood man was bit while he was surfing south of the jetty. The man received the bites on the lower part of his leg and ankle and had to be taken to the hospital. Even though he had significant lacerations, the man’s injuries were non-life-threatening.
The second shark bite actually took place only about 20 minutes later, but this time the surfer suffered the bites to his hands. The victim was a 36-year-old Miami man who was bitten on both of his hands and also suffered significant lacerations. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, a 29-year-old New Smyrna Beach surfer by the name of Brandon Jurekovic said that he witnessed when the man came ashore, holding his hand and screaming after the shark bite.
“He was holding his one hand with his other hand and it was obviously blood red. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Help, help.'”
The Miami man posted to Facebook about his less-than-stellar beach adventure and said that he was a bit shaken up and would have to undergo surgery.
The third person to be bitten by the sharks at New Smyrna is a local 16-year-old boy, who got bitten about 1 p.m. while he too had been surfing. His shark bite left minor lacerations on his inner thigh, but fortunately they were not serious and he actually declined to be taken to the hospital.
Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Captain and spokeswoman Tammy Marris gave a statement, which advised that the bites had taken place just south of the jetty in New Smyrna Beach. The Orlando Sentinel reported that investigating officials believe that the attacks were carried out by more than one shark and the theory the officials are working with to explain the excessive shark bites has to do with their food source. They said that there has been a rather large amount of bait fish close to the shores of the beach and believed that the higher-than-normal amount of attacks is because the sharks were following the fishes. Marris says that today’s number of shark bites exceeds the typical numbers per year.
“It is out of the ordinary to have three people bitten back-to-back, but it’s not unheard of and has actually happened before. Typically this doesn’t happen more than once or twice a year.”
Marris went on to say that all beachgoers are warned about the possibility of sharks, as they have signs that warn people of dangerous marine life in the water and that they also warn visitors by flying a purple flag. The captain also advised that once a large number of birds are seen diving into the water, that usually means that bait fish are present and since the fish attract a lot of sharks, it is best to leave that area until the fish have passed, just to be safe.
RT Florida_Today "Sharks in the New Smyrna Beach area bite three surfers within a few hours of each other … pic.twitter.com/qTQUSX2gTt"— Jakir khan (@jakirkhanbd) September 18, 2016
Those who surf in the area say they are aware of the sharks and actually see them fairly often and as long as they are not troubled, nothing usually happens. Even with the string of shark bites today, those who frequent the area say that they are not deterred, but will simply try to be more cautious.
Typically though, after a shark bites someone, they will release them and leave shortly after. This is why officials believe that multiple sharks were involved in the attacks from today.
[Featured Image by Deborah Kolb/Shutterstock]