Surfer in good condition after bite; shark may be to blame
Tuesday, October 03, 2000
Another local surfer has reported being bitten by a shark on a New Hanover County beach.
As he paddled in the water off Wrightsville Beach around 4 p.m., something took a chunk out of Wilmington resident Mark Taylor's upper left arm, said Wrightsville Beach Police Officer Trey Jordan.
Mr. Taylor reported that he was bitten by a shark, Officer Jordan said.
Medical help arrived soon after the bite and took Mr. Taylor to Cape Fear Memorial Hospital. The hospital listed him in good condition late Monday.
In the past 130 years, there have been only 16 confirmed shark attacks in North Carolina waters. This year, there have been three confirmed shark attacks in the state.
During one week in July, surfers off Wrightsville and Holden beaches suffered shark attacks.
A week earlier, a 12-year-old girl was attacked by a shark in shallow water off the Outer Banks.
Before those attacks, no one had been bitten since 1993, said Dr. Frank Schwartz, a professor with the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Science in Morehead City.
A Florida man was killed while swimming in the shallow waters of the Intracoastal Waterway earlier this year.
Deaths from shark attacks are rare in the United States, with only 48 confirmed fatal shark attacks in 450 years, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
After the July attacks, Dr. Schwartz said that the changing path of the Gulf Stream may have pushed schools of fish closer to the shores of the state's beaches. Sharks may have followed those fish to shallow waters, putting them in contact with swimmers.
Still, many reported shark attacks turn out to be the work of other ocean predators, Dr. Schwartz said. Bluefish, which he called "the piranha of the sea," have taken bites out of numerous swimmers, many of whom mistake the large fish for sharks.