A 15-year old boy was attacked by a shark off the Texas Gulf coast on Monday afternoon while swimming with his church group.
The boy was swimming in waist-deep water at Surfside Beach when the shark began biting his legs; he reportedly began trying to fight it off by beating it with his hands, and was bitten on the left hand for his troubles. Luckily, his friends saw what was happening and came to his aid; he was later flown to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in nearby Houston, where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries.
Police Chief Gregg Bisso said shark attacks haven't been reported in that area in at least 25 years. Indeed, shark attacks near the Texas Gulf coast are much more rare than in other parts of the country, because of the variation in aggressiveness in different sharks.
"Generally speaking, the number of attacks are rare on the Gulf Coast and certainly in comparison to the Atlantic Coast," said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla.
Shark attacks seem to have become more common in recent years; last summer, a Cape Cod swimmer narrowly escaped the jaws of a great white shark, and last March a mother saved her daughter from a shark attack in Florida.
Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis says there are things you can do to avoid being attacked:Shuffle your feet in shallow water to scare small sharks away, avoid swimming in the middle of schools of fish, stay out of the water if you are bleeding, avoid swimming in estuaries, and when wade fishing avoid tying caught fishing on a line close to the body.