Sharks attack twice more in New Smyrna Beach
By MARK I. JOHNSON
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - "The World's Safest Beach" wasn't for two swimmers Friday afternoon when they became Volusia County's 11th and 12th shark bite victims of the year.
Taylor Holley, 11, DeBary, was bitten twice in the right foot shortly before 1 p.m. as he swam in the surf with his father and sister in front of the Islander Resort in the 1200 block of South Atlantic Avenue.
About two hours later, Apopka stockbroker Austin White, 23, told friends he was surfing when he saw a 2-foot shark appear out of the murky water and latch onto his right hand. That incident occurred between Esther Street and Crawford Avenue, about a mile north of where Holley was attacked.
According to Cy Holley, Taylor's father, the family was bodysurfing in about waist-deep water when the shark bit his son.
"We had seen dolphins swimming and went out to watch them," Holley said. "Then we saw a bunch of fish swimming along. It was like a city block of them and we were standing in the middle of them as they swam past."
Suddenly, he said, his son reacted.
"I thought one of the fish had finned him, but he knew what it was," Holley said. "He swam over to me and I pulled him to shore."
The shark's bites left a horseshoe-shaped cut, about 3 to 4 inches across, near the youngster's heel, he said.
The boy was transported to Bert Fish Medical Center by ambulance, where it took doctors in the emergency room about 28 stitches to close the lacerations, according to hospital spokeswoman Cathy Vaughn.
Holley said the experience may keep his son out of the water for quite some time.
"He really didn't want to come (to the beach) today," Holley said. "Now I feel bad about insisting he come."
White's girlfriend, Jackie Slingerland, 22, also of Apopka, told reporters she got a call at her office from him saying he had been bitten.
"He had the day off and he came out to go surfing," she said. "We knew there were a lot of shark bites here, but he has lived near the beach all his life and he has never had a problem before."
She said the bite will not keep her or White out of the water in the future.
"It is just one of those things that happen," she said.
Vaughn said doctors were still working on White's hand about 6 p.m.
"(The bite) damaged several tendons," she said. "They are bringing a hand surgeon. We do not know if he is going to be admitted."
Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Ron Futch said while lifeguards aren't expecting big crowds this weekend, they will be on a heightened alert for sharks or bait in the water that might attract the predators.
"If they see anything like that they will clear the beach for 20 to 30 minutes until the shark has left or the bait is gone," he said.
New Smyrna touts itself as The World's Safest Beach. Sandbars running parallel to shore were once thought to keep out sharks.
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