Shark nips surfer in New Smyrna
The Flagler County man suffers minor wounds to his foot and refuses to be taken to a hospital.
Volusia County, often dubbed the shark-bite capital of the world, had its second bite of the year, Beach Patrol officials said Friday.
A 24-year-old surfer from Flagler County suffered minor cuts from a shark bite in New Smyrna Beach, Beach Patrol officials said. He was the second victim this year.
Mike Milea was wading just south of the jetty at Ponce de Leon Inlet around 3:30 p.m. Thursday when he felt something grabbing at his left ankle, Beach Patrol spokesman Scott Petersohn said.
Petersohn said Milea told the Beach Patrol he was standing in about 4 feet of murky water when the attack happened. "This is very typical," he said. "It's how 99 percent of our bites happen."
Milea had three or four puncture wounds on his foot, each less than an inch long, Petersohn said. He said the surfer was treated by the Beach Patrol for the "very minor" injuries and refused transport to the hospital.
Milea could not be reached for comment.
In April, a 13-year-old girl from Clearwater suffered similar puncture wounds while standing in knee-deep water at Daytona Beach, near the University Boulevard approach. Beach Patrol officials reported the girl's injuries were typical of a shark bite.
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 happened in Volusia County. A record 22 Volusia County swimmers suffered shark bites in 2002, Petersohn said.
"It was the most we've ever documented, and there may have been more," he said.
Most of Volusia County's shark bites occur in New Smyrna Beach. Its waters aren't known for the aggressive bull sharks like the Gulf of Mexico, Petersohn said. Most Volusia County victims are bit by smaller, juvenile blacktip and spinner sharks that mistake hands and feet for bait fish.
More shark bites occur later in the summer, Petersohn said, when people flock to the beach in larger numbers. Swimmers are advised to stay out of murky water and stay away from schools of small fish.
Beachgoers should also watch out for rip currents, which are more likely to appear this weekend because of a predicted easterly wind and 2-foot swells, Petersohn said.
Christine Dellert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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