Flyovers continue; incidents climb to 21
By SANDRA FREDERICK
NEW SMYRNA BEACH — As Tropical Storm Gabrielle steams toward Bermuda, she leaves in her wake Volusia County´s 21st shark bite victim this year.
Blaise Mosler, a 14-year-old surfer from Longwood, was bitten just above his left ankle about 3 p.m. Tuesday near the 2800 block of North Atlantic Avenue, just a mile south of Ponce de Leon Inlet.
Beach officials said the murky waters and the high surf caused by the storm passing through over the weekend are the cause for Tuesday´s incident.
"It´s very typical of the bites we have been seeing in the inlet," said Joe Wooden, deputy chief of the Volusia County Beach Patrol.
Mosler, who was paddling out to the surf break when he was bitten, was treated at the scene for a 1 1/2 - to 2-inch cut on his left foot, Wooden said. He was not transported to a local hospital and he told officials he would likely go to an emergency facility near his home.
"We are being cautious and are doing flyovers," Wooden said. "We want to see how murky the waters are, how much baitfish there are in the area, and the number of sharks."
A 4 p.m. helicopter check by the county´s Beach Services department and the Sheriff´s Office did not spot any sharks, Wooden said. However, he said people should be aware of the potential for shark encounters because of the large number of baitfish along the shoreline and the inability of the shark to see its prey because of poor water clarity.
In mid-August, the Beach Patrol treated 10 people for shark bites in a 10-day period, creating a media frenzy and prompting the Beach Patrol to keep a stretch of surf just south of the inlet off limits to swimmers and surfers for more than a week.
So far this year, there have been 31 shark bites in Florida, 21 in Volusia County, according to George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. Worldwide, the shark file shows there have been 54 attacks this year, 43 in the United States.
Burgess said the good surf increased the number of surfers in the ocean and with the water as murky as it is, it was an accident waiting to happen.
"It´s a juicy situation for the surfers because of the turbulent waves caused by the storm. But there is also the regular number of sharks out there," he said Tuesday. "We are seeing the results."
http://www.news-journalonline.com/speci ... 092101.htm