5-year-old Maryland boy bitten by shark near North Myrtle Beach, family says Incident occurred Saturday, but officials say it is not known what kind of marine life bit the boy
Isaac O’Hara was jumping waves with his granddad Saturday morning when something bit him.
The five-year-old boy, who was wearing swimming trunks decorated with images of sharks, yelled in agony.
Isaac O'Hara, 5, was bit by a shark while vacationing in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach with his family
The incident occurred about 10 a.m. Saturday in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach at 55th Ave. N. Ocean Boulevard, according to family members and officials with North Myrtle Beach.
The family is from Walkersville, Md., and has been visiting the Grand Strand for 30 years. They arrived Sept. 21 and will head back home Oct. 1.
“We had gone out around 9:30 a.m. to jump waves for a while,” said Tom Gilbert, Isaac’s granddad, Monday morning. “We were heading back when Isaac started yelling and said his leg hurt.”
Gilbert said they were still in the waves, about 100 yards from the beach chairs, when the incident occurred. He looked to the right and saw some fins headed back into the ocean.
Tom Gilbert said he didn’t actually see a shark.
“I don’t know what it was,” he said.
His daughter, Erin O’Hara, who is also Isaac’s mom, was walking with her mom, Ellie Gilbert, when she saw that her dad was carrying Isaac. She assumed her son had been stung by a jellyfish because she had spotted jellyfish earlier.
However, as Erin O’Hara drew closer to them, she realized Isaac was injured.
Her dad had taken a T-shirt and placed it on the wound to try to stop the bleeding.
Tom Gilbert said the wound looked to be 4 inches long and 1 ½ inch to 2 inches deep.
“We don’t want to sensationalize this, but we think it is a shark bite because you can tell from the incision,” Erin O’Hara said. “You can see the perfect bite on his upper thigh around his knee on his left leg and upper thigh above his knee.”
Pat Dowling, spokesman for the city of North Myrtle Beach, said some sort of marine life did indeed bite the child but no one knows for sure what it was.
Lifeguards did not witness the incident, Dowling said.
When told family members believed it was a shark bite, Dowling said, “They would know better than we would because they were there. However, we are not sure what bit him.”
Dowling said blue fish, which travel in schools, are known to bite people if they are in their path and they are going after bait fish.
Tom Gilbert said his grandson was a trooper because he wept and screamed, but he never passed out.
“I cried very loud,” Isaac said Monday in a phone interview with The Sun News. “I couldn’t stop crying in the ambulance, but Jesus was with me the entire time.”
Isaac was taken by ambulance to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, where he underwent a two-hour surgery, according to his mom.
“We don’t know how many stitches they were because there were so many,” said Erin O’Hara, a children’s director at Grace Community Church of Frederick in Frederick, Md. “I have to praise the hospital. Up and down, they were fabulous. The staff was great. We are also thankful to God because we believe in the Lord and his healing power. The bite didn’t hurt any muscles, tendons or anything. It was a miracle.”
Erin O’Hara and Isaac’s dad, David O’Hara, who works for State Farm Insurance, had people from around the world praying for their son.
They posted the incident on Facebook, and people who knew their family, including her dad, mom and her brother, Jack Gilbert, an associate pastor at New Life Foursquare Church in Frederick, began praying.
“This little boy was prayed for by 10 different churches and by people all over the United States and in South Africa and Greece,” Erin O’Hara said.
The family said Isaac, who was released Sunday afternoon, has recovered wonderfully.
Monday morning, though, he wasn’t jumping waves. He was in a wheelchair, but he is beginning to put some pressure on his leg.
“He is doing great,” Erin O’Hara said. “He was just sad that he couldn’t get back into the water today.”
Read more: http://www.thesunnews.com/