Local News

Third 'Biting' Incident Reported Along N.C. Coast

Posted July 17, 2000

— What is being described as a 'fish' reportedly bit a surfer along Wrightsville Beach Monday. It is the third incident reported this month along the North Carolina coast.

Patrick Bruff says he was surfing with friends near Crystal Pier Monday when he was bitten on his right foot. He says he could see the fish's mouth with his foot inside of it.

Bruff says he believes a shark bit him, but that has not been confirmed.

On Sunday, a 14-year-old surfer from Florida was bitten on the foot at Holden Beach. He says a 6-foot-long gray shark first bumped his surf board, then followed him toward the beach.

The surfer had three 4- to 5-inch cuts on his foot, a puncture wound in his heel and some other cuts on his toes.

Another 'biting' incident occurred in Corolla in the Outer Banks.

On July 7, a 12-year-old girl from Ohio was bitten while standing in shallow water at Pine Island. She suffered a 9-inch gash that required 300 stitches.

In May, two shark attacks were reported along the Gulf Coast in Alabama.

Shark attacks are not common in North Carolina. Three attacks were reported in 1995 and one person was attacked in 1993. No one was killed in any of those attacks.

While sharks are among the most feared of creatures, most species have never attacked humans.

Scientists believe thatattacks most often occur. when sharks encounter swimmers or divers and mistake them for their usual food -- sea lions, turtles or large fish.

Sharks usually release the victim after realizing their error and inflict only minor injuries.

Much rarer and deadlier are "bump and run" and "sneak" attacks in which a shark deliberately circles and strikes a human, inflicting multiple bites.

According to theFlorida Museum of Natural History, three varieties of sharks pose the greatest threat of a potentially lethal attack: theGreat White, which was immortalized in the movie "Jaws;" theTiger Shark, and theBull Shark. From staff and wire reports

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