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OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A girl is recovering after apparently being bitten by a shark off of Ocean Isle Beach this morning.

Emergency crews were called out around 11:30 a.m. Mayor Debbie Smith says the six-year-old girl was in shallow water when it happened.

“Be careful, be aware but this is not something that happens regularly at all,” Smith said.

Smith says the call came from around Fayetteville Street at the east end of Ocean Isle Beach. Rescue workers told her the six-year-old girl had a few puncture wounds on her leg. They also said the girl’s mother reported seeing a shark following a school of fish in the area.

“We’re continuing to monitor the shore today and warning people in that area, but we have not heard of any other reports or any sightings or incidents,” Smith said.

Smith says she can’t remember the last time there was a shark bite, but still warns swimmers to be cautious in the water.

“It’s going to happen when you’re at the beach,” tourist Duran Link said. “You know, you can’t get by it, but you can’t be worried about it every time you go in the water or the beach wouldn’t be any fun.”

Tourists say they plan to be a little more watchful at the beach, but they don’t seem too concerned by what happened.

“I’m not too worried about it,” tourist Susan Lieving said. “I think they’re more scared of me than I am of them.”

“You just hope it doesn’t happen to you,” Link said. “You just enjoy the beach and you know, swim with a lot of people. You know, it’s kind of like the bear theory: You’ve got to be faster than the slowest person with you.”

Mayor Smith says the town has had extra beach patrols all day on the east end of the island. They continue to warn swimmers about what happened.

Comment on this Story

  • Southerntraveler

    I’ve got to ask this: So if the parents actually saw the shark following a school of fish, why did they allow their child to get into the water??

  • nierney

    could be they saw the shark after she was bitten and followed it’s movement after that time.

  • Guest11

    It happened a couple seconds after the Mom saw the shark.

  • Kassie Guzik

    My family and I were on the beach all day very close to where this little girl was bitten. No beach officials notified us nor did we see any officials monitoring the area. Another family saw a shark about four feet long shortly after the time of the bite. Thanks to concerned beach goers for warning one another. Otherwise, we would not have know to keep our children out of the water.

  • Guest11

    The Mom saw the shark an instant before the bite.

  • Lindy

    I look at it this way….my uncle was killed in a car accident, yet I taught my kids how to drive. We all know that riding in cars is dangerous–people are hurt and killed in them every day, yet we continue to drive. Isn’t this sort of the same? Maybe the mom saw the shark AFTER her daughter was bitten, or when it was too late. Kind of hard to point the finger at some poor woman when all the facts aren’t there, isn’t it?

  • Guest123456

    now don’t you think if the mom saw the shark in the water before the daughter was in the water she wouldn’t let her go in. Obviously the daughter was already in the water when the mother saw the shark. Come on common freaking sense and how rude to say something so stupid.

  • Rob from Charlotte

    My party, who were boogie boarding yesterday by the pier, witnessed a 6-8 ft shark swim within 10 feet of us. The two of us who had polarized sunglasses on saw the shark, the one person that wasn’t didn’t see it at all. It didn’t attack, obviously, but we immediately left the water. Needless to say, we won’t be boogie boarding by the pier again.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    That shark you saw isn’t tethered to the pier, and you have just as good a chance of being bitten a mile from the pier….

    ….or should I say, just as BAD a chance, because the odds are greater that you’ll be hit by lightning, bitten by a rattlesnake, or stung to death by a wasp or bee, than being attacked by a shark.

    You guys did the right thing by leaving the water when you saw the shark, but I can assure you that there were many more out there that you didn’t see. If people knew what’s swimming right outside those breakers, many would be going to the mountains for vacation.

  • D’Aunn

    Our family was at Holden Beach, NC the week of June 2-9 and I saw a shark….my kids said I probably saw a dolphin, but I was sure it was a shark…..the kids were pretty close to the shore line, but the next day I did go in the water up to my neck,…..but such is life…..just have to be careful….the shark was about 30-35 yards from the shoreline…..just sayin….

  • Ryan herring

    What type of shark bit her

  • larry lue

    come on does anyone no what type of shark it was the question has been asked 3 times no one has answered!

  • Ryan herringg

    What type of shark was it

  • Grand Ole Party

    The kind with teeth.

  • ChefnSurf

    Although a shark can be found anywhere, they’re often found near piers more than other surf areas. More fish available as prey.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    I stated that he had just as good a chance of being bitten away from the pier as at the pier.

    In fact, a cursory glance at either the U.S. Navy Shark Attack file or the International Shark Attack File show that statistically, he has a BETTER chnace of being bitten away from the pier. Less than 5% of shark attacks take place at piers and docks.

    Yes, sharks congregate around any underwater structure that attracts fish. That does not equate to being where the vast majority of attacks occur.

  • Halle

    For those of you bad mouthing… This is my family and she has very good parents so get the facts before assuming they weren’t watching their daughter/granddaughter/niece… She was with her mother but ACCIDENTS happen…. Common sense people come on!!!

  • Guest211


  • Grand Ole Party

    Some of the older ones just have gums.

  • Holden Beach Shark Survivor

    Our young family member survived a potentially fatal shark attack on the leg in 3-4 feet of water at Holden Beach in August 2011 on a sunny beach day. The beach officials and mayors always say “these shark attacks rarely happen”. Perhaps it is infrequent, but shark attacks do happen on these family beaches. I don’t know to prevent them. But be careful out in the waves, especially if you have children. You never want to see anyone, especially children, go through this type of trauma.
    p.s. Brunswick County Medical Center provided outstanding emergency care

  • Cornelia

    I am surprised to see so many comments on the mother and her actions. I live here at Shallotte point and my children spend most of their summer days playing in the water at the beach or in the river. Yes, we have seen sharks, crabs, stingrays and all kinds of jellyfish, but I cannot restrain them from living life. I may not be able to always keep them safe (on land or in the water) but remember accidents happen!

  • Eddie

    A shark bite is always a bad thing. However if you are in the shark’s world and he bites you don’t be angry at the shark. He wasn’t walking down your street when you got bit. You were in his world. I see people mad at sharks and grizzlies all the time. Someone will go backpacking in the western wild woods and a grizzly will smell their food and get hungry. If they get in the way ythey will get nibbled on to. Don’t get mad at the bear. He’s just doing what a bear does. Forage for food. Don’t be angry at sharks. They’re just doing what sharks do..forage for food ! Now if a shark or a grizzly shows up at McDonald’s you have every right to kick their butts !

  • Troy

    Hey Eddie,

    Don’t tell a shark bite victim it was their fault for being in the shark’s world. If a shark or a bear attacks you then you have every right to get mad, fight, and kill the beast. Saying the shark is only doing what it’s designed to do has no meaning. We get that it didn’t drive over to McDonalds purposefully to do someone harm. Have a little compassion for someone who was a victim of an unprovoked attack by an animal with several rows of very sharp teeth. Imagine them tearing through your flesh before you open your mouth and say something stupid.



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