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Seventh shark attack reported off NC coast; no pattern detected

Posted July 1, 2015
Updated July 2, 2015

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— A seventh person was bitten by a shark off the coast of North Carolina Wednesday afternoon.

A 68-year-old man from Cape Cod, Mass., whose name was not released, was bitten off the coast of Ocracoke Island, according to the National Park Service. He was last listed in serious condition at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Officials said the attack happened at about 12:30 p.m while the man was swimming directly in front of the lifeguard stand in waist-deep water. The man was pulled underwater by the shark, and received injuries to his rib cage, hip, lower leg and both hands.

The man was able to swim himself close to shore where lifeguards helped him out of the water. The shark he encountered was grey in color and about six to seven feet long, officials said.

Emergency crews arrived at the scene and airlifted the man to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he was listed in stable condition. No other swimmers were injured.

"When he was pulled out of the water I could see the wound," said witness Lynette Holman. "It was like a 5-inch gash above his knee."

Sarah Cline was in the water when she saw the man.

"When I got over there, he told me to get out of the water," said Cline, who lives in Chapel Hill. "Like, his swimming trunks were missing.

Cline also noticed that skin was missing from the man's leg. She got out of the water and ran down the beach, yelling for everyone to get out of the water.

"There were kids in the water, and they had boogie boards, and they were at risk too," she said.

Cline then returned to the man, who by then was surrounded by lifeguards and other beach goers. She held the man's hand, and wasn't worried about him hurting her.

"We're just very grateful to him, and I felt like the least I could do was to sit and hold his hand," she said.

Cline overheard others discuss the man's injuries - deep gashes from his hip to his calf, cuts on his stomach and a bloodied finger from when the man pried the shark from his leg.

"This guy's incredible," she said. "He was talking with me. He was joking with me. And I can't imagine how much pain he must have been in."

On Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was bitten by a shark in Rodanthe. The day before, a 47-year-old man was bitten about a mile north of the Avon Fishing Pier while he was swimming in a group.

The other four instances of shark bites last month all involved younger people farther south off the coast.

A girl was bitten by a shark and her boogie board torn apart at Ocean Isle Beach June 11.

The most serious injuries were suffered by a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, each bitten June 14 about an hour apart off the coast of Oak Island. Each had an arm amputated.

An 8-year-old boy was bitten June 24 in Surf City, but his injuries were described as minor.

According to Justin Gibbs, the Hyde County emergency services director, extra emergency crews will be on standby through the holiday weekend.

"Going into July 4th weekend, we have upped our staffing on the island because of the celebration that occurs there annually," he said. "We also put a third ambulance on call. (This) is not something we handle on a frequent basis."

20 Comments

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  • Mannin Black Jul 2, 2015
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    So.. Because a story does not mention helicopter patrols, you assume there are none? If you have been paying attention to the previous articles of NC shark attacks, you would have learned that NC is using helicopters to patrol the beaches and spot for sharks. And what are you rambling about Clines's reaction? Also, I didn't know life-guards could see under the surface of the waves. They now have x-ray vision?

  • Stephen Believable Jul 2, 2015
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    In preparedness for the upcoming holiday weekend, extra body bags will be on hand for those that need them. Anyone bitten by a shark will receive a buy one get one free coupon to Joe's crab shack.... with the purchase of a meal of equal or greater value, of course.

  • Sue Sloan Jul 2, 2015
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    News Flash--there are sharks in the ocean.
    And a "description" of the "suspect" borders on the ridiculous.

  • Sean Reid Jul 2, 2015
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    The processing plant is neither on the water or pumping its waste into the river. That would be illegal. In fact a new water processing station has been built next to the site to increase water processing for all of Pender county

  • Fred Kozlof Jul 2, 2015
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    was hoping for an update, but nope, but upon re-read, this story seems to show how goofy NC is.
    In Calif they fly helicopters to look for sharks. In NC even after 6 attacks, there's no mention of such preventive action.
    Then read about that Cline lady..abandons the injured man, and upon return held his hand and wasn't afraid that he would hurt her!! What kind of reaction/thought is that? Weird.
    Next, this happened right in front of a light guard stand. Was he sleeping? Was he not on special alert, given the other SIX?
    And the published action item for the holiday weekend...an extra ambulance on standby. That should make everyone feel safer. ARG.

  • Marvin Sanderford Jul 2, 2015
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    Paging Sheriff Brody, Paging Matt Brody

  • Gary Hutson Jul 2, 2015
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    But in the mountains you could get killed by a bear or cougar it's their territory so you should probably stay out of the mountains too. There are alligators in the rivers and ponds Also. Rattlesnakes, water moccasins and copperheads are indigenous to this area so I wouldn't go out in the yard. Basically life itself holds a certain amount of danger. Live life and take your chances or stay in a cocoon and miss out on all the best things in life.

  • Charlie Watkins Jul 2, 2015
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    Quit with the stupid remarks about it being the Governor's fault!

    Clearly it is the fault of the NC General Assembly for cutting the school budget. Kids have no books and the buses have not run in years because the budget does not allow for gasoline. How can a bus run without fuel?

  • Stephen Believable Jul 1, 2015
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    You are 100% correct. I have heard Mr. McCrory say on numerous occasions that he hates people that swim. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Ole Pat was the one swimming around biting peoples limbs off. He owns several shark costumes and is heavily invested in a major prosthetic limb manufacturer in China.... Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Give me a break.

  • Andrea Hobbs Jul 1, 2015
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    " The shark he encountered was grey in color and about six to seven feet long, officials said."
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/seventh-shark-attack-reported-off-nc-coast/14749241/#D1S0QT2C3oCyJG4R.99

    WRAL, I don't mean to be goofy or sarcastic at all. However, aren't all sharks "grey in color" or generally speaking grey with some white on them? And, are Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida experiencing similar spikes in shark bites on humans?

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