A 10-year-old boy came out of the ocean in front of Disney’s Beach House resort Sunday bleeding from his arm.
Although no one saw a shark in the water, Hilton Head Island Beach Patrol says it was a possible shark attack.
“Typically when somebody comes out of the water bleeding, we’re dealing with stingrays, maybe cuts from shells on the feet…. but those are usually in the foot.” said Mike Wagner, operations manager for Hilton Head Island Shore Beach Service. “In this case, it was on the arm, which is a little unusual for us.”
Wagner also said that more than one laceration could indicate the injury was from a shark.
Hilton Head’s “Shark Whisperer” says from what he’s been seeing, it probably was a shark.
“There’s an enormous amount of blacktips in right now,” said Chip Michalove, charter captain of Outcast Sport Fishing. “I just called it the other day, I said there are so many blacktip sharks in our waters right now and they’re extra aggressive, they were swarming the back of the boat.”
Michalove says May is the most common month for blacktips on Hilton Head. Just last week, beachgoers spotted sharks on the south end of the island.
“Those are not dolphins… those are definitely not dolphins,” Penny Posey Hughey and a friend said in a video they captured of sharks’ fins in the waves.
Michalove says, fortunately, blacktips are smaller sharks whose bites don’t cause fatalities.
“There could have been a school of menhaden real close to the beach. There could’ve been maybe a dead stingray floating around in the water,” he said. “Fortunately, the attacks we have are blacktips. If it were something else, our attacks would be much worse.”
There were eight confirmed shark bites on Hilton Head last year, but Wagner says people shouldn’t be scared.
“Almost daily, there’s somewhere where we’re going to see a shark and clear the water for it. Typically not very large or anything like that, we’re just trying to be cautious,” he said.
The 10-year-old was airlifted to Memorial Health in Savannah. News 3 was not able to get an update on his condition Monday.
The Island Packet reports the boy underwent surgery to stitch up the cuts on his arm. Although he did suffer a significant amount of blood loss, he is now in recovery.
As summer gets closer, beach patrol employs more lifeguards on the island from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If they see sharks, they will evacuate the waters.
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