Local News

Child recovering after shark bite on NC coast

Posted July 20, 2011

— A 6-year-old girl is recovering after a shark attack on the North Carolina coast.

Cyndy Holda of the National Park Service said the child was bitten on the lower portion of her right leg and a foot around 5 p.m. Tuesday on Ocracoke Island. The girl had been playing near the beach with a boogie board in about 18 inches of water when she was bitten. Family members said the girl's mother was 10 feet away and saw the attack. 

The child, whose name was not released, was flown to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. 

The girl's family released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the child was in good condition. 

"She is in good spirits, declaring this morning that, 'I hate sharks. I like dolphins way better,'" the family said. 

Girl bitten by shark on NC coast Girl bitten by shark on NC coast

Ranger Kenny Ballance, of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, said late afternoon and early morning are the most common times of day to see sharks so close to shore.

A park service spokesman says the last shark bite on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was off Avon in 2001 when a man died from his injuries.


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  • jervin6 Jul 21, 2011

    Another piece of advice to reduce the risk of being bit by anything with teeth from smaller fish such as blues or spanish to much larger fish like barracuda or shark is to remove any reflective jewelry. It makes sense, because just like fishing lures that attract and entice a fish to take a bite, these things reflect light like the scales of bait fish and can cause a fish to make a mistake. I believe they have tiny brains that are triggered into a reflexive action and may bite because their primitive brains don't allow them to think before they bite. Then again, great whites have been shown to ambush their prey from underneath with such speed they soar out of the water so I guess there is some premeditated thought process going on there. Ok, a shark normally stops once it realizes they mistook a person for their natural food, but unfortunately for those people that are bitten the fact that their risk was low is meaningless to them and their family. Glad the child is recovering.

  • Nunya123 Jul 21, 2011

    Hans - thanks. That ought to work. Getting my Bahama Mama ready now. :)

  • Dogs_Rules Jul 21, 2011

    Growing up on the Gulf Coast, we saw a few instances of people being bitten by sand sharks when they stepped on them. I imagine even a sand shark could do a considerable amount of damage to a 6 yr old. The child in Pensacola who lost his arm (was later re-attached) was attacked by a Bull shark. Bull sharks are responsible for most shark attacks on humans because they are normally found around the shore line in shallow water.

  • Legal Lady Jul 21, 2011

    I don't blame her for liking dolphins way better! That is a cute quote... glad she is doing better today.

  • Hans Jul 21, 2011

    And sea snakes! I forgot about those. Very, very dangerous.

  • Hans Jul 21, 2011

    "Hans - maybe they'll continue to live in fear of everything and then there will be more room on the beach for the rest of us." - cantstandgolo

    People, after more extensive research, I have concluded the risk of a shark attack is very high. You should definitely not go in the water. The recent discovery of those venomous sand crabs is disturbing as well. I've also heard gull krap is heavily contaminated with an antibiotic-resistant form of e-coli. I think it would be best not to go to the beach at all. Stick to the shops and putt-putt type things.

  • Nunya123 Jul 21, 2011

    Knee deep water, bit by what they thought was a sea snake, and paralyzed from the neck down? First, sea snakes don't reside in the Atlantic, period. They are native to the Pacific and Indian oceans. Second, the majority of sea snake bites don't have venom injected when they occur. Third, sea snakes prefer sheltered areas, not open beach. Lets pull another one out of rearends and see how that flies.

  • Nunya123 Jul 21, 2011

    Hans - maybe they'll continue to live in fear of everything and then there will be more room on the beach for the rest of us.

  • Jakethesnake Jul 21, 2011

    I am glad this young lady is doing ok. I agree with Cary is Awesome I have not been in the ocean for going on 19 years due to my brother was bit by what they believe was a sea snake while we were knee deep in the ocean. He has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since.

    seriously? where was this? do sea snakes hang out off the carolina coast?

  • Hans Jul 21, 2011

    "Hans- your statistics are wrong." - smack

    Well, I got them from the internet, but you get the gist. Just go to the beach on a nice summer day and look at the number of people in the water. Multiply that over years and all the beaches around the world, and compare it to the number of shark attacks.