Local News

Official: Boy likely bitten by shark off N.C. island

Posted June 2, 2008

— Marine helicopter patrols searched for sharks because state park officials believe a 9-year-old might have been bitten by one last Monday.

William Early, of Wilmington, was surfing in shallow water off Bear Island in the Hammocks Beach State Park around 4 p.m. on May 26, said Charlie Peek, a spokesman for the state Division of Parks and Recreation.

The boy had gotten off his surfboard when a large fish attacked him, Peek said.

William suffered lacerations to his upper and lower left arm. He underwent surgery at a Wilmington hospital to correct some nerve damage and has returned home to recover.

Peek said doctors said William's wounds were consistent with a shark bite. However, no one saw a shark at the scene.

A Marine helicopter flying over Bear Island a day later did not spot anything unusual. Peek said park officials hope the attack was an isolated incident.


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  • oldschooltarheel Jun 4, 2008

    Between Wrightsville Beach & Masonboro Island is a channel which is protected breeding grounds for sand tiger sharks. Surfers going across this area to the north end of Masonboro Island are encouraged not to paddle across alone. We also have regular encounters with alligators in Carolina Beach - the Basin & the lake. Pier fisherman are catching 3 to 6 footers off Topsail Beach pier regularly here recently. Come on in - water will be 80 degrees by next week - feel great now!

  • oceanchild71 Jun 3, 2008

    wow that scary! I go out to that beach all the time. There are a lot of dolphins (I've seen 25 at one time before) in that area. I kinda hoped they were keeping me safe from sharks. Guess thats just something I learned for Disney movies.

    Actually, if dolphins are in the vicinity, it is unlikely that a shark is in the vicinity as they are "enemies." But if you see dolphins leave abruptly, you might want to as well ;)

  • Adelinthe Jun 3, 2008

    I would say that I generally don't mosey around some place where I'm not at the top of the food chain, but now that they've seen bears in Raleigh, I guess that tosses that thought out the window.

    Staying inside after dark now for sure, and that's a shame cause the moonlight of the full moon is so peaceful.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • FromClayton Jun 3, 2008

    wow that scary! I go out to that beach all the time. There are a lot of dolphins (I've seen 25 at one time before) in that area. I kinda hoped they were keeping me safe from sharks. Guess thats just something I learned for Disney movies.

  • paradox2920 Jun 3, 2008

    BE AFRAID! Look..its called life. If you choose not to go into the ocean super, but lets not pretend its more dangerous than your daily afternoon commute in 3000lb metal objects moving at 70+mph. People are desensitized to the "violence" of car accidents, but we freak out about things that happen far less often. I would be willing to bet more people fall off their roof and suffer serious injury than are hurt in shark related incidents. Someone get the binoculars! That roof is WAY too close to those children!

  • oldschooltarheel Jun 3, 2008

    DH was swimming at Kure Beach/Fort Fisher this weekend - on both days he saw a 3 to 4 foot shark out where he was bodysurfing. Both days he came in after watching it a bit - 2 fins, the front one bigger than the back, swimming sinuously rather than forward arcing like the dolphins. The first day he let the newly instated lifeguard know he saw a small shark out just beyond where the majority of folks were in the water. No real response beyond a shrug from lifeguard kid. DH asked if he could borrow kid's binoculars - kid had none. Dh reported he then realized the kid did not have a flotation buoy, a kickboard, nothing! He asked the kid what tools he had & the kid pointed to a radio (did not call on the radio)... that's it! I'm not sure why Kure Beach is wasting tax payer money to have the "lifeguards" on the beach. They lend a false sense of security to folks who otherwise might not venture out.

  • sweetsea Jun 3, 2008

    A couple of years ago I had waded out about knee deep to do a little surf fishing when a shark about 8 feet long passed about 10 feet in front of me. I gingerly tiptoed backwards out of the water and I noticed a couple swimming a few yards up the beach do likewise. I looked at them and they looked at me. Scared us all. Knee deep is about as far in the ocean as I am going and I will not let my grandchildren go out any further either. I have been stung by a jellyfish one time and that was enough for me. I have had large king mackeral cut in half by sharks. There are definitely lots of creepy critters in the ocean.

  • Adelinthe Jun 3, 2008

    "...no one saw a shark at the scene."

    That doesn't mean anything. What else would inflict a bite "consistent with a shark bite?"

    Praying for the boy.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • clover1019 Jun 3, 2008

    surely the shark is scared and hiding somewhere.......

  • beachboater Jun 3, 2008

    Fish pee in the ocean. I don't swim where fish pee.