Shark bites 8-year-old boy in NC; no warning to swimmers

Vacationers walk in the surf in Oak Island, N.C., Monday, June 15, 2015, the day after a 12-year-old girl from Asheboro lost part of her arm and suffered a leg injury, and a 16-year-old boy from Colorado lost his left arm about an hour later and 2 miles away in two separate shark attacks off Oak Island. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An 8-year-old boy suffered minor injuries after being bitten by a shark Wednesday while swimming in knee-deep water in Surf City, N.C.

Town Manager Larry Bergman says the town does not plan to warn visitors about the shark bite or tell swimmers to get out of the water, but it has increased police beach patrols.

“It really comes down to a joint decision on public safety officials, including myself,” Bergman said. He said he would have decided to close the beaches “if there was a big hazard, if there was an imminent danger.”

The town does not have an official lifeguarding staff, instead employing police officers and water-rescue-trained firefighters to patrol the beaches on four-wheelers. Beachgoers swim “kind of at their own risk,” Bergman said.

He said some people have approached police officers after hearing about the bite on social media.

“News travels really fast,” he said.

Bergman said the boy had superficial wounds on his lower leg, heel and ankle, and was treated by emergency personnel at the scene. Afterward, his parents took him to an emergency room to have the wounds cleaned.

“Police and EMS felt like it wasn’t a serious bite,” Bergman said.

The child had been swimming about five blocks from a fishing pier Wednesday afternoon. Town policy prohibits people from swimming or surfing within 300 feet of a fishing pier, Bergman said.

The Surf City incident is the fourth shark bite in shallow water off a North Carolina beach in the past two weeks. On June 11, a 13-year-old girl suffered small cuts on her foot from a shark bite at Ocean Isle Beach. Three days later, two separate shark attacks occurred within 90 minutes at Oak Island, N.C. Both victims, ages 12 and 16, had an arm amputated after the attacks. One victim had been swimming about 100 yards from a fishing pier when she was attacked.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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