Shark bites tourist at Kure Beach
Trang Aronian was wading in knee-high waves at Kure Beach on Wednesday when she felt something latch onto the top of her foot and tug.
"Something bit me," she exclaimed, according to her husband, Matt, who was standing beside her.
Matt felt the shark pull her, so he yanked back, jerking his wife's foot out of the animal's jaws.
"As we were running ashore, the shark kept chasing us … It didn't stop until we were about 5 feet from the shoreline," Matt said in a phone interview Friday. "My brother said he saw the fear in our eyes."
Kure Beach officials confirmed Friday that a shark between 4- and 6-feet long bit Trang, 28, about 5 p.m. Wednesday in the vicinity of the H Avenue beach access. The attack occurred about 15 feet from shore in about a foot of water.
The bite left deep cuts on the top and bottom of Trang's foot. Her husband said she was treated and released from the hospital but received more than 60 stitches and is using crutches. Matt believes it was a Tiger Sand Shark, but that could not be corroborated Friday night.
"It's her whole foot. It ripped the skin right off," he said. "She's in pain."
The couple was visiting Kure Beach from Massachusetts with family when the attack occurred. The event was particularly distressing, Matt said, because their three young children had been playing in that same spot only moments before the shark pounced.
After the bite, Matt pulled his wife ashore and tied a shirt around the top of her knee to slow the bleeding. Lifeguards responding to the scene wrapped up Trang's foot, loaded her onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.
The couple felt rattled after their encounter. "I don't know if I'm going to be able to enjoy the water now," Matt lamented.
But at least they leave North Carolina with a tale to tell. "She has a good bar story now," Matt joked. "She can outdo me."
While they often frighten the public, shark bites are extremely rare. Worldwide, there are about 75 unprovoked attacks each year, and about 10 of those are fatal, according to the International Shark Attack File, a program administered by the Florida Museum of Natural History. People are more likely to die from a bee sting than a shark.
Between 1935 and 2010, there were 41 confirmed attacks in North Carolina, mostly in New Hanover, Onslow and Carteret counties. That is an average of about one every two years. The last fatality, according to the shark attack file, occurred in Dare County in 2001.http://www.starnewsonline.com