Entries in Sharks (7)


North Carolina Shark Attacks: Hear the Frantic 911 Calls from Beachgoers

ABC News(OAK ISLAND, N.C) -- A trip to the beach turned gruesome on Sunday and sunbathing strangers turned into heroes for two teens who were mauled by sharks.

Beachgoers made multiple 911 calls for emergency aid when two separate shark attacks took place off Oak Island in North Carolina.

The first victim that was attacked was a girl who suffered two bites, authorities said.

"The left arm is completely missing and also a bite to the left leg," a male 911 operator is heard telling another, noting that the girl had a weak pulse.

Another caller described the same incident as leading to the girl having "her hand bitten off by a shark."

When asked whether she had the number that she was calling from, the caller said, "No, I don't actually. The family is in too much shock so I just wanted to borrow their phone."

The second victim, a slightly older boy, was attacked nearly an hour and a half later about two miles away, authorities said.

"Um, there's a shark, and it bit his arm off," one female caller said. "He's bleeding out, we need an ambulance," she said.

Another female caller had to be calmed down by the operator who could not understand her amid the frenzy.

"Oh my gosh! Call 911, call 911!" another woman is heard saying on a recording of the emergency call that was released today. "Someone got bit by a shark!"

"His arm is gone," she said.

The woman could be heard communicating with others at the scene and relaying aid tips from the 911 operator.

"There is serious bleeding," the woman said at one point.

County officials said Monday that both victims are in stable condition and a surgeon confirmed that the boy had his left arm amputated above the elbow.

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Thousands of Sharks Shut Down Florida Beaches

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A huge swarm of sharks that shut down beaches in Florida is migrating up the East Coast in a display that has spring breakers staying out of the water.

Tens of thousands of the predators -- mostly blacktip and spinner sharks -- are now coming to shore and towards swimmers during their annual migration north.

"We saw something moving in the water and everybody was saying, 'Ahh!  Sharks!,'" one witness in Palm Beach, Fla., told ABC News.

Craig Pollock, a lifeguard supervisor in Palm Beach, said that sharks for the most part don't disturb the area beaches.

"We don't have a sandbar.  A lot of times when we have a sandbar the sharks stay off of the shore a little further," he said.

Shark sightings are not uncommon for South Florida beaches.

"Every year we expect annual shark migration to come through this area," Pollock said.

But the migration from Florida to North Carolina usually starts and ends sooner -- well before Florida's prime beach season.  But that's not the case this year.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University say they have now counted some 15,000 sharks.  Most of them were seen less than 200 yards from shore.

"It's the beauty of living in Florida," beachgoer Laura Salerno in Palm Beach said.  "It's also the danger."

As a precaution, many beaches are on high alert Thursday, with double red flags waving to keep swimmers out of the water, at least for now.

"People really need to heed these warnings because thank god it's a public beach, and they have lifeguards and they have these warnings," beachgoer Elizabeth Horowitz said.  "Sharks are not to be reckoned with."

Blacktip sharks only account for 20 percent of unprovoked attacks in Florida.  But during this migration, people there aren't taking any chances.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Shark Sightings Close Beaches Along Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Hemera/Thinkstock(CAPE COD, Mass.) -- Some beaches in Cape Cod, Mass., could be closed for the big Labor Day weekend after fishermen reported shark sightings hundreds of feet from the shoreline.

Beaches from the Orleans-Chatham town line south along Nauset Beach to Monomoy were closed Wednesday with no date for when they will reopen.

A family enjoying the day off the coast of Chatham last week came across a great white shark feasting on a gray seal, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.

Swimmers were warned to stay at least 300 feet away from seals.

Sharks have been more visible along Cape Cod this summer with numerous sightings.  Experts blame a drastic increase in the area’s seal population on which sharks feed.

“The elbow of the cape has these large, dense concentrations of gray seals now, and these white sharks go to the area to feed,” said Greg Skomal, a senior biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.  “Because the seals are so abundant, now the white sharks are paying more attention.”

A man was attacked in July by what is believed to be a great white shark in the waters off Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass.  Police said Chris Myers was bit in both legs below the knees in possibly one single, crushing blow.

“I’ve been swimming at that beach since I was a little kid, and no one in recent memory has ever had a shark attack, let alone by a great white, which they are saying they think it was,” Myers told ABC's Good Morning America after the suspected shark attack. “Maybe people need to be a little more careful.”

Three weeks before that incident, a great white shark was spotted trailing a kayaker at Nauset Beach, about 25 miles south of Ballston Beach.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Beachgoers Beware: Shark Sightings on Both US Coasts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As you head to the beach this week along with hoards of other Americans, you have more to be cautious of than the heat. There have been shark sightings on both coasts, leading to panic in some areas.

Just like a scene out of the movie Jaws, California beach-goers spotted a 14-foot Great White shark off the coast of San Diego on Monday, prompting the immediate closure of the beach.  The La Jolla Shores beach re-opened in time for the Fourth of July holiday after there was no sign of the shark overnight.

Area lifeguards told ABC News that while shark sightings are fairly common there, they should be taken seriously.

Another shark was caught just north of La Jolla Shores the same day.  A fisherman reeled in what is believed to be a shortfin mako shark 15 miles off the coast of Marina Del Rey.

“It’s been at least a couple of years since I’ve seen anything that big,” Tony Velardez, an assistant manager at Del Rey Landing, told ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KTLA.

The fisherman said he believed the shark was around 800 pounds -- their scales only go up to 750.

Meanwhile, the next day, all the way on the other side of the country, fishermen in Massachusetts spotted two more Great Whites off Cape Cod.

And this wasn’t the first sighting in that area -- a 12- to 15-foot shark was seen over the weekend in Chatham, the state’s first of the season.

Authorities issued an advisory telling beach-goers to stay away from seals -- one of sharks’ favorite snacks.

Back over on the West Coast, Lt. Andy Lerum reiterated the advice from Cape Cod authorities.

“Humans are not normal prey for sharks and so every time there is an attack it’s assumed it’s a mistaken identity, so it’s better not to look like a seal if you can avoid it,” Lerum told ABC News' San Diego affiliate 10News.

So enjoy the beach weather, but stay alert if you’re planning to cool off in the water this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Shark Sighting Off San Diego Coast Closes Beach

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- It was a scene out of the movie Jaws Monday  as beach-goers spotted a 14-foot great white shark about 50 yards off the San Diego coast, prompting the  popular swimming beach  to close.

San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan told ABC News the shark was seen Monday around 3 p.m. by eight onlookers, who noticed a dorsal fin poking above the water’s surface.

“We immediately closed the beach and searched throughout the night through sunset for the shark, but saw nothing else,” Buchanan said.

No further sightings of the great white shark had been reported as of Tuesday morning, he said.

Buchanan said sharks were common in the area, and that swimmers should always be cautious while in the water.

The La Jolla Shores in San Diego has since reopened to swimmers and surfers in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

Large crowds are expected to visit the beach for the holiday Wednesday, but Buchanan said that it would be “business as usual.”

“We always increase our lifeguards by 25 percent for the holiday itself,” he said. “Due to the activity and the crowds, basically we will try to be there and ready to deploy with any speed if there’s another sighting.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Parents Defend Letting Daughter, 5, Swim with Sharks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Elana and David Barnes posted a home video to YouTube of their 5-year-old daughter swimming in the ocean, they intended to share their vacation memories with friends and family, not the world.

But the video quickly became a viral sensation because it shows their daughter, Anaia, not just frolicking in the water but snorkeling with sharks in the waters off the Bahamas.

“Life is too short to be boring,” Elana Barnes told ABC's Good Morning America of why she and her husband let their daughter swim with the nurse, lemon and Caribbean reef sharks.

The video of Anaia in the water has proven to be anything but boring, provoking a fiery debate online about whether the Ridgefield, Conn., parents were irresponsible in placing their daughter in a potentially dangerous situation.

“When you are an adult, you are allowed to be as reckless as you want to be,” said Ericka Souter, editor of the The Stir on the Café Mom parenting website.  “But as parents, it is our job to protect our kids from reckless and dangerous behavior.”

The Barnes say they researched the risks and decided it was worth it to nurture an adventurous spirit in their daughter.  The sharks with which Anaia swam are said by animal experts to be rarely aggressive and she was with an instructor the entire time.

“There’s just always risk assessments in life every day,” David Barnes told GMA.  “I’m more concerned that they don’t put seatbelts in school buses.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Carolina Shark Attack Girl in Good Condition

Comstock/Thinkstock(CAPE HATTERAS, N.C.) -- A 6-year-old girl is in good condition after being attacked by a shark on a North Carolina beach Tuesday evening.

The girl's parents issued a statement saying their daughter was in good spirits and had commented, "I hate sharks. I like dolphins way better."

The child was swimming with her father in shallow water when she was bitten on the right leg and part of her foot, according to Kenny Ballance of the National Park Service for Cape Hatteras. She was swimming on a boogie board in about a foot of water at the time.

Hyde County EMS, the National Park Service and the Ocracoke Fire Department responded to a call at Ramp 72 on Ocracoke Island. "The Ocracoke EMS and another park ranger, Shane Bryant, [were] on the scene right away," Ballance said. "The rescue squad began working on the little girl when ranger Bryant arrived. It was apparent that she was bitten below the knee in the foot area is the report."

Pitt Memorial Hospital flew a helicopter into Ocracoke Beach and flew the child to the hospital in Greenville.

"We were told she was in stable condition, then we called this morning to learn she's in critical condition," Ballance said.

Authorities said the last shark attack in the area, in Cape Hatteras, was a fatal one. A man was bitten in a major artery, causing him to bleed to death before aid arrived.

Ocracoke Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The entire island is owned by the U.S. National Park Service, except for the village.

A 10-year-old girl was attacked by a shark earlier this month in North Topsail Beach in North Carolina.

Cassidy Cartwright of Erie, Pa., like the 6-year-old victim, was also playing on a body board and was wading knee-deep in only 3.5 feet of water.

Biologist Andy Dehart told ABC News earlier this month that the murky water around the North Carolina shore is often to blame for unprovoked shark attacks in this area.

"The shark sees a flash of pale skin which has a high contrast in the dark, murky waters and often times that can confuse sharks a little bit," he said. "They bite down thinking they are biting a fish but it's a person."

The Florida Museum of Natural History keeps an international shark attack file, which was last updated in January. It shows 41 unprovoked shark attacks from 1935 to 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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