Three people have reportedly been bitten by sharks in a span of 24 hours at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, over the weekend.
The most recent victim was a Nashville man in 50s who was standing in knee-high water on Sunday, reported the Sun-Sentinel. Just before 3 p.m., the shark bit his right foot, according to Captain Mike Berard. The man reportedly did not want to be taken to a hospital and was treated for "minor lacerations" at the scene.
On Saturday, two surfers were bitten near the Inlet at New Smyrna. The bites reportedly happened within minutes of each other. One victim, a 20-year-old woman, was bitten on her left hand and wrist. The Orlando Sentinel reported that while the bites were not life-threatening, they required stitches. As the woman was being transported to the hospital for her wounds, a 21-year-old man was bitten on his right foot. He received treatment at the scene.
The bites bring the total number to nine this year in Volusia County, Spectrum News 13 reported. Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue considers the beach to be the shark attack capital of the world. Since 1882, the beach has seen 303 unprovoked shark bites. Brevard County follows with a total of 147 bites.
Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Captain Tamra Malphurs told Spectrum News 13 that beachgoers can reduce their risk of becoming a victim by paying attention and staying out of the way.
"If you're in the water, and you see a lot of bait fish jumping, I would get out of the water until they pass through. Also, if you see birds diving for bait fish, that's another indication a lot of fish out there and there's bigger fish chasing the smaller fish," Malphurs said.Amazingly, no fatal shark bites have been reported in the county. Malphurs said that sharks are not actively looking to bite people, but they are looking for fish and sometimes humans get in the way.
"When the water is really murky, it's kind of a mistaken identity. It's usually a bite and release," she said.
The size and type of sharks involved in the bites were not immediately known.
Malphurs said that sharks are not even the most dangerous part of swimming in the water. She said that rip currents are a far greater danger to the population.
There are reportedly more than 2,000 rescues made each year from people being swept into rip currents.