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NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A family from Pennsylvania was excited to be visiting North Carolina for the first time, but their trip to North Topsail Beach did not end on a good note. The Cartwrights 10-year-old old daughter was bitten by something in the knee-deep water that led to her being airlifted to an area hospital.

“I didn’t hurt at first,” Cassidy Cartwright said. “It pulled me down, and it hurt. I just thought it was somebody messing around, and I found out that it wasn’t ’cause it pulled me down again.”

Cassidy is now recovering at UNC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill after her close encounter with a predator at North Topsail Beach. She was playing with her body board in the ocean when her mother Carolyn saw blood and quickly pulled her daughter out with the help of a friend.

“Together we got her out, but when he pulled out of the water her leg was wide open and it was just… a lot of blood,” Carolyn said.

Cassidy was air lifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Her mom says the doctors there said it was the worst the bite they’d seen.

“At that point I guess we assumed it was a shark bite, but it wasn’t until we got to UNC that they had found a shark tooth in her leg,” Carolyn said.

The bite broke Cassidy’s Achilles tendon and did other damage to her lower leg.

Carolyn is glad her daughter is OK, but she also thinks North Topsail Beach could have done a better job alerting beach visitors when attacks like this happen. She says no one said anything to anyone along the beach after it happened.

“I think the one thing that people don’t understand is is that there are sharks in the water,” North Topsaidl Beach Town Manager Steve Foster said. “That’s where they live, but people are not one of the main things they want to go after. But as far as response, I think we responded appropriately in this situation.”

With the 4th of the July holiday around the corner, Carolyn Cartwright shares some advice with parents.

“It can happen,” she said. “(You need) to be aware of the situation, the risk that you are putting your child into. Just be educated.”

The Cartwrights are expected to go back home to Pennsylvania in the next two days.

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29 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: Shark bites girl at North Topsail Beach"

2015 years 8 months ago

I’m sure this young lady is feeling better and well on her way to recovery. I wish her the best and am sorry her experience of my home state has been tarnished. It is a lovely place!
I am from coastal NC. We moved to NY state a time ago. When we go camping we have to be aware of the bears just as when we go to NC we are aware of the sharks. The sharks are always swimming around people.

It’s best to always be aware of the environment you are in.

Remember that when you enter any wild environment, you are in their home and are accepting the fact that anything can happen. If you are not willing to play by those rules, its best to limit your interactions to the zoo or aquarium, where people are “in charge”.

2015 years 8 months ago

We carry mace with us to protect our old dog and ourselves from unleashed dog.

2015 years 8 months ago

i was there when it happend and im her bff

2015 years 8 months ago

you wouldnet be saying that if u were the 1 who got bit and im her bff

2015 years 8 months ago

It’s the ocean. It’s not a kept secret that sharks are in the every body of water that connect to the oceans, and gulf. That meaning they have found bull sharks 3000 miles up inland from the Mississippi. The need to have posters on a beach saying “Sharks in the Water” is as useless as a sign on the roads that say “Bad Drivers on roads” or “Snakes in the woods”. Yes it’s a sad story cause there was a child involved, but that’s the risk every parent takes when bringing a child to the beach. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3′ or 10′ of water if you have been in the ocean at any point in your life chances are high that you have been right next to a shark, and never been the wiser. I live right here in Sneads Ferry, and will continue to swim in the waters cause I know I’m more likely to be bitten by someones dog or hit by some careless idiot on my way to the beach than attacked by a shark in the waters. Thank you, and I hope this poor child the best.


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