A shark "attack" off the coast of Galveston has refocused attention on information concerning a rising shark population and the chances of attack.
Mikaela Amezaga, 14, was enjoying a day at a Galveston beach with her family when she decided to go for a swim and cool off after tanning all afternoon.
She spotted a shark nearby, which wasn't unusual as they see sharks all the time in the water.
However, this one didn't pass by uneventfully. Luckily, the bite didn't actually hurt that bad at the time. She recalled it feeling like something hit her shoulder. Then she ran out of the water and told her parents that she thought she'd been bitten by a shark. Sure enough, when her mother moved her hair out of the way, she saw blood and the bite wound on her right shoulder.
Her father, Daniel Amezaga, knows how lucky they were that Mikaela escaped with minor wounds.
“I couldn’t believe it. It could have been a leg or arm. It definitely could have been worse. We have a smaller child, and there were a bunch of kids there.”
It definitely could have been worse, but in most cases, it isn't. In fact there have only been 38 of these "attacks" recorded since 1911 in Texas. Only two were fatal. In areas like the Texas Gulf Coast, waters are shallow and there aren't many areas like river entries and bays where sharks like to congregate. In Florida, where there are many more of such areas, there have been 687 since 1882, 11 of which were fatal attacks.
Experts say there are some things you can do to avoid one such shark attack.
"Shuffle your feet so the shark can see you coming," said Peter Davis from Galveston Island Beach Patrol. The kicked up sand could possibly scare the shark away. Shuffling is also known to scare away other things like flat fish and sting rays.
Also, you should stay away from cloudy waters and schools of fish. Melvin Shepard, safety director at Orange Beach Fire and Rescue said, "Anytime visibility is not good, it's also harder for sharks to see. That increases the chance of them biting someone they see splashing around." .
With the increase in the population, be sure to do all that you can to avoid an encounter. You may get lucky, but you also may not.
Image via YouTube