2nd shark attack in 3 days at world’s “shark bite capital”
New Smyrna Beach, Fla. — Authorities say a teen was bitten by a shark while surfing at a Florida beach. CBS affiliate WKMG-TV reports 18-year-old Reed Zipperer was bitten on his left hand Monday afternoon at New Smyrna Beach. He’s the sixth person bitten by a shark this year in Volusia County.
“There’s a lot of bait in the water. The water is super murky and like, I don’t blame him. My hand probably looks yummy to them. I would do the same thing,” Zipperer told the station.
Zipperer said he received 19 stitches but avoided any ligament tears. Ocean Rescue Capt. Tammy Malphurs says the teen was in waist-deep water at the time of the bite.
On Saturday, an Arizona man was bitten in the leg not far from the scene of Monday’s bite. The 49-year-old had lacerations and was treated, but is expected to be okay.
New Smyrna Beach is known as the “shark bite capital of the world.” Since the late 1800s, there have been more than 300 unprovoked shark attacks in Volusia County, where New Smyrna Beach is located. That’s compared to 162 in the entire state of Hawaii, and 124 in all of California since 1837.
A few weeks ago, a father took drone images in New Smyrna, showing a shark swimming dangerously close to his children. They all escaped safely.
Marine biologist Stephen Kajiura, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, said that when someone is bitten by a shark, it’s usually because they’ve been mistaken for food.
“There tend to be more shark bites in the summer, just because there tends to be more people in the water,” Kajiura said. “I think that’s what happens more than anything: It’s sharks biting a person, realizing, ‘Oh, you’re not a fish,’ and then leaving the person alone. But of course then, the person has a bunch of little tooth marks.”
Experts say there are a few things people can do to protect themselves from an attack, like avoiding the water at night, dusk and dawn, when the sharks are most active.
Also: avoid wearing shiny jewelry and brightly-colored bathing suits, which can attract sharks.
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