Seven people have been bitten since June but wildlife experts say it is down to several different sharks and is not “a Jaws situation”
A seventh person in North Carolina has been bitten by sharks in what is becoming an unprecedented wave of attacks on tourist beaches.
The 68-year-old man was flown to hospital after being bitten on his hands and leg as he swam off the shore of Ocracoke Island.
He is the seventh person attacked since the beginning of June, fuelling calls for authorities to close some of North Carolina’s beaches ahead of the July 4 weekend.
The spate of attacks began last month when a teenage girl escaped with only minor injuries and damage to her surf board.
But it escalated on June 14 when 16-year-old Hunter Treschl had his left arm bitten off.
“I thought it felt like a big fish, and I started moving away. And then the shark bit my arm off,” he said.
• Testicle-munching fish species found in US lake
An hour later a 12-year-old girl also lost her left arm in a separate attack a few miles away. Since then a small boy, a 18-year-old male and a grown man have all suffered injuries.
Wednesday’s attack occurred shortly after noon as the man swam around 25 feet off the beach. It is not clear how badly he was injured.
So far no one has been killed in this summer’s attacks.
George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, said the bites were unlikely to be the work of a single animal. “This isn’t a Jaws situation,” he said.
The more serious injuries were probably caused by tiger sharks, which can grow up to 16 feet, or the slightly smaller bull shark. The less grievous wounds may have been the work of a black tip or a spinner.