Local News

NC coast sees third shark encounter this month

Posted June 17, 2019 5:09 p.m. EDT

An 8-year-old boy was bitten by a shark off the North Carolina coast Sunday, marking the third shark encounter in the state this month.

The shark grabbed the boy by his leg near the Bald Head Island shore around 4 p.m. He suffered puncture wounds and is expected to make a full recovery, according to WECT News. He was immediately evacuated to a local hospital on the island's ferry.

Sunday's encounter follows two shark encounters from earlier this month as both 19-year-old Austin Reed and 17-year-old Paige Winter were bitten by sharks off the coast within the last 15 days.

Reed, who was surfing at Ocean Isle Beach on June 10, was bitten in the right foot. Winter lost nearly her entire left leg and two of her fingers after a shark pulled her underwater at Fort Macon State Park, near Atlantic Beach. Winter's dad punched the shark in the face five times before it let her go.

"It was just an immediate dad thing," her dad Charlie Winter said in a press conference Friday. "When I pulled her up, a shark came up with her, and it was a big shark. The head was, it was a big shark. It kind of thrashed a little bit, and it had a big, just a big eye staring at you."

Winter plans to turn the scary situation into something positive going forward.

"I think I can transform this into something good for me and good for sharks and good for the environment too," Winter said.

Experts are on high alert because this month's shark encounter totals so far match the typical amount in North Carolina per year.

Fatal unprovoked shark attacks are highly unlikely, according to the Florida Museum's International Shark Attack file, as less than 45 have been reported since 2010.