Anytime you’re spending a significant amount of time in the ocean, you know there is the chance that you’ll have an encounter with a shark. The thought may be in the back of your mind, but the truth is that shark attacks are actually very uncommon. This entire year, there have been only 24 different shark attacks that have been reported. This is a relatively small number when you consider just how many people head to the beach and swim in the ocean each year. However, professional surfer 23-year-old Franklyn O’Rourke recently lived his worst nightmare when a shark attacked him in Jacksonville, Florida, according to Today.
The incident occurred at the Jacksonville Beach Pier and was caught on camera. The disturbing video footage shows O’Rourke surfing and minding his own business. His surfboard suddenly gets yanked down by a shark. Trying to remain calm, the surfer pulls himself onto his surfboard and holds on for dear life. The shark, which bit onto his arm, continues to swim in circles underneath him.
Miraculously, the surfer was able to make it safely back to shore. Photos from after the incident depict O’Rourke’s arm bleeding profusely, with puncture wounds from the shark’s teeth visible. However, considering the circumstances, his injuries were pretty minor. He is expected to quickly recover and is simply grateful to be alive and still have his arm.
“I’m happy to be here and alive and well. Literally just latched onto my arm. I’ve never felt force like that from any animal or anything in my life, so I was in shock,” he said after the attack.
Earlier this year, an 8-year-old boy was attacked by a shark while he was swimming in North Carolina. He received puncture wounds but was swiftly rushed to the hospital and survived the attack.
In addition, a 17-year-old girl’s life was changed forever as the result of a shark attack earlier this year. A shark grabbed hold of her and only released her after her father punched the animal repeatedly. The girl lost her leg and two of her fingers.
SHARK ATTACK ???? Shark bites Jacksonville Beach professional surfer, Frank O'Rourke. Surfer says he was out near the pier when a shark latched onto his arm. https://t.co/6YAfK1CYOt
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) July 28, 2019
Hap Fatzinger, the director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, explained that often, shark attacks occur because the shark mistakes humans for food.
“We are not a natural prey item in their world, so when we do get these encounters, as unfortunate as they are, it is most likely a case of mistaken identity. They’re associating humans with getting food and it’s making it very dangerous to be in the water, whether you’re spearing or you just happen to be snorkeling near where they’re feeding them.”