A 13-year-old from Clearwater may be the county's first shark-bite victim of the year, Volusia County Beach Patrol officials said Wednesday.
"We possibly had a shark bite today -- and I want to stress possibly," spokesman Scott Petersohn said of the injury that officials were still trying to confirm as a shark bite.
Petersohn said the girl told lifeguards she was standing in knee-deep water at Daytona Beach, near the University Boulevard approach, about 3 p.m. when something bit her.
"She had three little tiny puncture wounds on her left ankle and some little lacerations, nothing major," Petersohn said, adding that the girl was treated by Beach Patrol for the "extremely minor" injuries and taken to the hospital by her parents.
At least 18 people were attacked by sharks in Florida last year, according to statistics from the International Shark Attack File. At least nine of those unprovoked attacks occurred in Volusia County.
Petersohn said it is not unusual to have a shark bite in April. Records show that in recent years, as many as 10 attacks were reported in April.
Dirty, murky water often plays a role in shark bites, Petersohn said, because "everyone is blind," and the sharks are cruising for bait fish and mistake human limbs for food.
Ultimately, Petersohn said, many shark bites are minor because "you know what -- sharks, we're not on their menu."
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