Shark bites man wading in waist-high water off South Carolina beach resort
A shark swam in the shallows close to the beach located in South Carolina has bitten a man in an unprovoked attack.
The man, who was not identified, was in water only two to three inches (0.6 to 0.9 meters) deep at the Sea Pines beach on Hilton Head Island on Friday (July 21) when a shark bit his foot. Shore Beach Service personnel helped the man to get back on his feet, and paramedics were on the scene.
“At the time of the bite, the man was in approximately waist deep water,” officials from the town of Hilton Head Island Government wrote in a Facebook post. “Paramedics transported the man to Hilton Head Hospital for treatment of the apparent bite wound.”
After the incident, Shore Beach Services closed the beach to swimmers throughout the rest of the day.
The shark species involved in the incident is not known. Still, several types can be found in these waters, including comparatively tiny species that are located along the coast, such as fine tooth (Carcharhinus soon) and sharks with the black nose (Carcharhinus limbatus) and bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna Tiburo), among others as well as large well-known species, including the tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) great sharks (hammerheads) (Sphyrna mokarran) and great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). Sharks can be found a few miles away from shore, and numbers increase as the distance from the coast.
In the shallows, encounters with sharks may be shared, but in April, a sizeable white shark was found on a South Carolina beach in a bizarre stranding incident.
This is the second shark attack off Hilton Head Island in two years. In 2021, an officer observing the water’s conditions was left with severe lacerations when a shark bit his chest. A rescue team rushed him by helicopter to a hospital, where he could recover.
According to experts from Florida Panhandle, a website that collates information on shark attacks worldwide, Shark attacks are sporadic. “For people that live in the United States, you are approximately 50 times more likely to die by a lightning strike and ten times more likely to die by a firework accident compared to a shark attack,” David Angotti, the founder of Florida Panhandle, told Live Science in an announcement.
In 2022, scientists counted 57 unprovoked shark bites across the globe and five fatal attacks, most documented within Australia, the U.S., and Australia, according to the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File. Two non-fatal attacks were reported in August in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when two people were bit one day. One of the victims was treated for several hundred stitches when she was bitten by a shark on her forearm, WPDE reported at the time.
Daniel Abel, Professor of marine sciences at Coastal Carolina University, told WPDE that sharks are commonly located near the coast of South Carolina in the summer. While bites are uncommon, Abel suggests swimming in the morning instead of at dawn or dusk, where sharks are more likely to feed. “Don’t swim where there are schools of small fish offshore. Don’t swim near where people are fishing near piers,” the expert said.
Most shark attacks are a confusion of identity and sharks mistaking swimmers for prey species like seals. As an example, great white sharks seem to show virtually no desire to eat humans, as the research published in June has revealed.