Surfer Gets First Shark Bite Of Year
There was a shark bite on the Central Florida coast on Friday. The beach patrol was warning surfers and swimmers Friday afternoon to be careful in the water.
The surfer is okay after getting a few stitches.
He surfer fell off his board at New Smyrna Beach and immediately felt the shark bite his leg.
It's early in the year for shark bites. Last year's first bite wasn't until mid-April. Plus the water now is 65 degrees, which is usually too cold for sharks. Lifeguards are just hoping this year won't be a repeat of last.
As usual, in the waters off New Smyrna Beach, there were plenty of people out surfing Friday. One of those surfers, a 31-year-old local man, became the first person to be bitten by a shark this year.
"He fell off his board and was nipped by a shark," said Ron Futch of the beach patrol. Beach patrol officers immediately starting making announcements, warning people about the dangerous marine life in the area. Familiar signs were also put back up.
Those signs were created last year after 22 people were bitten.
The shark bite happened right near Ponce Inlet where the majority of the bites happened last year. After the man was bitten went to a tower to be treated for his wound. Lifeguard and paramedic Ben Whetstine wrapped the surfer's right leg where he had several puncture wounds.
Most surfers say they're well aware there's a risk when it comes to sharks.
"Not going to stop surfing but you just need to be aware. I probably won't take my little girl out there," said one surfer.
Beach patrol officers say they believe the bite was an isolated incident, but they do caution everyone to be smart.
"If you're in the water and you see a school of fish or pelicans diving there's probably a predator in the area," Futch said.