"Shark Attack Survivors News Archive"

07/18/2007 Matt Baker (North Carolina)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2007.
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07/18/2007 Matt Baker (North Carolina)

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Second Shark Bite Incident Reported in 2 Days

Posted: Jul. 17 11:45 p.m.
Updated: Today at 6:09 p.m.

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. — A 14-year-old boy was bitten by a shark Wednesday at North Topsail Beach, marking the second shark attack in two days along North Carolina's coast.

The unidentified teen was bitten on the right calf about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday as he and three other teens were swimming off the Topsail Reef Condos near the New River Inlet.

An eyewitness on the beach apparently saw the shark and yelled a warning to the teens. As they headed toward shore, he was bitten.

He was treated at Onslow Memorial Hospital and released.

On Tuesday, a woman on vacation at Atlantic Beach was bitten by a shark while wading in the state's first reported attack this year.

The 30-year-old woman from Ohio, whose name wasn't immediately released, was in waist-deep water near the Tar Landing Villas on Atlantic Beach when she was bitten, said town Fire Chief Adam Snyder.

The woman felt something bite her right thigh and began kicking, Snyder said. Then the shark bit her left foot, leaving triangular shaped teeth marks, he said.

Others on the beach helped the woman from the water until rescue workers arrived. She was treated at Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City and was expected to be released the same day.

The woman was released from the hospital Wednesday.

The attack was the first in the state since September, when a 16-year-old surfer suffered a deep gash to his left thigh by a shark at Onslow Beach. The teen needed about 10 stitches to close the wound.

According to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History, there have been 22 shark attacks in North Carolina since 1993, but only one was fatal.

Snyder said authorities think the shark intended to bite a fish and accidentally bit the woman in the murky waters.

"We didn't even close the beaches," he said, calling it an isolated incident.

No sharks were seen before or after the attack, Snyder said.

Last edited by sharkbait on Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by sharkbait »

Shark bite
Hickory teen recovering from attack at N.C. beach

By Sarah Newell
Record Staff Writer
Friday, July 20, 2007

Matthew Baker, 14, describes how he was bitten by a shark while swimming with friends at North Topsail Beach on Wednesday. Baker spent about three and a half hours in the emergency room and returned home to Hickory Thursday.

HICKORY -- When Matthew Baker went for a swim in the ocean Wednesday afternoon and felt a sharp pull on his lower leg, he thought it was one of his friends. He had no idea that a shark had just bitten his calf.

Baker, 14, was at North Topsail Beach with friends. He said it stormed earlier in the day, and was still raining slightly when he and his two friends were in the ocean at noon. A wave knocked Baker down, so he went to knee-deep water to recover. His two friends remained in chest-deep water.

“I heard people on a balcony about 50 feet away shouting and gesturing, like they were telling people to come back. But I thought maybe they were talking to someone they knew. I couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the wind and the waves,” Baker said.

The people on the balcony had spotted a group of sharks in the water, and were trying to warn swimmers to get out of the water. Before Baker could figure out what the people were trying to tell him, he was bitten.

“It felt like a friend grabbed my arm and nailed me,” he said. “Then I saw a gray blob underwater about three feet from me, swimming away. I didn’t feel anything at first. I just felt a sting. I thought maybe I stepped on a sharp seashell.”

Baker started swimming to shore, and that’s when he was able to clearly hear “shark” being shouted, and saw people running toward him.

“Once I got out of the water, the sting from the saltwater and the wind made it start to really hurt,” Baker said. “I saw a bunch of blood, and I knew to hold it to stop it from bleeding. Someone called 911, and I wrapped a towel around it.”

Paramedics cleaned the wound, and an ambulance came about 10 minutes later and took him to Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City.

“They said stitches would probably get infected, so they only used sterile strips. They’ll stay on about three weeks, and then they’ll fall off. They said if it hadn’t gotten cleaned out so fast, it probably would have been infected,” Baker said. “I will have some scarring there, though.”

Baker’s father, Gene, said his heart was in his throat when he got the news.

“It tears your gut up. The more I thought about it, the sicker I got,” he said. “When you think about a shark bite, you think about it tearing your flesh, but this was a good, clean bite, fortunately.”

Onlookers at the beach said the shark that bit him was about five-and-a-half feet long. And while the shark attack isn’t enough to keep Baker out of the ocean, it will keep him out of deep water.

“It was just an accident. Because of the storm, fish were roused up and the shark was trying to get food and I got in the way,” he said. “I will probably go back in the water, but not that deep. Maybe I’ll work up the courage to go back in that deep someday.”

For now, he’s just happy to be here.

“I’m thankful to be alive, and I’m really thankful to that family that saw the sharks, and was trying to get all of us out of the water. Who knows how bad it could have been?” Baker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

snewell@hickoryrecord.com | 322-4510 5408 or 304-6915

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Post by sharkbait »

Boy bitten by shark at N. Topsail Beach

By Arelis Hernandez,
Star-News Intern

A 14-year-old boy was recovering Wednesday after he was bitten by a shark about 12:30 p.m. at North Topsail Beach, police said.

Matthew Baker, of Hickory, was on vacation when he sustained minor injuries to his right calf, said North Topsail Beach Police Chief Casey Fillinger. Witnesses called 911 to report a shark attack and helped the boy bandage his wound.

Onslow County EMS responded to the scene and took Baker to Onslow Memorial Hospital, according to hospital nursing manager Pat Stark. Doctors treated two 2-inch gashes and a number of puncture wounds between Baker's knee and ankle, said Baker's guardian, Sandy Huffman of Claremont. The injuries were not listed as serious, and Baker was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Baker said he did not realize it was a shark until he heard witnesses screaming nearby and immediately swam to shore. Huffman, whose son Christian was swimming with Baker, said the teen's Boy Scout training helped him remain calm.

"He said he felt a tingle in his leg and thought Christian was playing, but then he heard people screaming, 'Shark!'●" Huffman said. "He did great, though. They told me he kept making sure that there was no tissue hanging out of his leg. He's so funny."

Fillinger said the attack was witnessed by at least four others who saw a group of 3-foot gray sharks approaching the teen and his friends in the water. It is possible the sharks were feeding on bait fish during high tide, Fillinger said.

This is the second shark attack off North Carolina's coast this year. A 30-year-old Ohio woman was bitten in her right thigh while vacationing in Atlantic Beach. Since 1990, there have been 22 shark attacks in North Carolina. Only one of the attacks, in 2000, was fatal.

Fillinger said this is the first attack he has heard of in North Topsail.

"It's not uncommon to see sharks close to shore," Fillinger said. "But it's very uncommon to get bitten."

Huffman said she believes Tuesday night's storms created the murky conditions that brought bait fish, which might have caused the unusual attack.

"I just want people to know that you don't swim when there's a storm," Huffman said.

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Post by sharkbait »

Boy Doesn't Realize Shark Bite Until Leaving Water

POSTED: 4:45 pm CDT July 19, 2007

It was not a typical day at the beach Wednesday for a North Carolina boy.

Matt Baker, 14, was swimming with his friends at North Topsail Beach when the unthinkable happened.

He was bitten by a shark.

According to Baker, it all happened so fast, he didn't even realize he had been bitten until he was out of the water.

Fortunately, he was not seriously injured, but he did get several stitches in his leg.

"I heard people yelling, 'Shark, get out of the water!' I tried to get out of there as fast as I could, and as soon as I hit the beach, I realized I got bit," Baker said. "You don't ever think about being bit by a shark … I'd probably have a better chance of winning the lottery."

Baker said he'll be more cautious in the future, but he won't let the incident keep him out of the water.

This was the second reported shark bite in North Carolina this week.

The first happened Tuesday at Atlantic Beach in Carteret County.

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