Shark bites on east, west coasts frighten swimmers

Posted May 30, 2016 10:43 a.m. EDT
Updated May 30, 2016 11:00 a.m. EDT

— Although Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, one of California's most popular beaches was closed Monday after a possible shark bite. Across the country, in Florida, that same fear was made flesh when a 13-year-old boy was bitten.

The boy could be heard crying, "I want my mommy," as lifeguards treated the wound on his right leg. Splotches of blood dotted Florida's Neptune Beach after the boy was loaded into an ambulance.

Police say the shark in this case was between five and six feet long.

In Newport Beach, Calif., lifeguards pulled a woman from the surf with large bite marks on her torso and shoulder. She was taken to a local hospital and a two-mile stretch of Corona del Mar Beach was evacuated.

"We will have visuals in the air and vessels in the water to confirm there are no sightings before we reopen the water," said Newport Beach Chief Lifeguard Rob Williams.

In 2015, there were 59 shark attacks in the United States, the highest on record. More than half occurred in Florida, and one claimed a life.

Despite the fear factor, shark attacks are incredibly rare. Statistically, a person is much more likely to be struck by lightning.