Delaware Shark Bite: Locals Startled By Rare AttackBy: Toni Matthews-El - June 10, 2014
If there were ever two words that could terrify a person into living a landlocked existence, it would be those.
The level of fear that sharks create in people who’ve never even seen a shark in real life is amazing, especially considering how rare shark attacks are.
You’re far more likely to step outside your house and be struck by lightning than to ever suffer a severe, let alone fatal, shark encounter.
Still, whenever such attacks occur, they are inevitably big news. Bigger still when they occur in a place not exactly known for shark attacks: Delaware.
A 16-year-old boy was attacked on Monday afternoon at Cape Henlopen State Park.
The victim was standing in approximately five feet of water when he suddenly felt something grab his arm.
The teen looked down and saw what appeared to be a shark. He hit the animal with his right hand and it swam off.
After a state fisheries biologist named Scott Newlin examined the victim’s arm, he was able to confirm the victim had been bitten by a juvenile shark.
Officials closed the beach shortly after the attack. Though the beach was reopened on Tuesday afternoon, swimming is not permitted as authorities continue to work out whether or not there are additional sharks in the area. Officials want to be sure the waters are safe for swimmers.
Collin O’Mara, the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said that there are many variety of fish in the area, but said there are likely no sharks. He believes that Monday’s shark attack was an “isolated incident”.
This doesn’t quite match what Newlin said about the incident. The biologist pointed out that juvenile sharks tend to be in the area at this time of year. He believes the carcass of a sturgeon may have drawn the juvenile that attacked the teen victim into shallow waters.
Fortunately for the teen, the shark was likely smaller than three and a half feet. Newlin said that if the juvenile were bigger, it would have been strong enough to pull the young man underwater, potentially drowning him.
Image via Amy Cherry, Twitter