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Sharks Surface at NC Beaches

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A shark bite at North Topsail Beach Yesterday was the second in two days off North Carolina beaches. Fourteen year-old Matthew Baker was only up to his knees in the ocean yesterday when a shark bit his calf. Larry Swindler is vacationing at Topsail Reef Condominiums in North Topsail Beach. He was swimming in the ocean when the sharks came close to shore in front of the condos. Larry said, "I heard some people that we were with screaming at the top of their lungs and I look, they're all motioning me in being very frantic." Larry's girlfriend Kelly Hensley watched the commotion from the beach. She said, "The lady that was yelling 'shark' said, 'can't you see the fin, you need to get him out, can't you see the fin?'" Tim Cloer had a different view of the sharks. He was on his balcony looking down. He said, "They were out of the water. They were not just the dorsal fin. I would say at least almost half way out of the water." North Topsail Beach Police say there were three to four sharks, each about five feet in lenth. Vacationer Tiffany Gowen also saw the incident. "It really made us all realize that it is possible because you always think, it's never going to happen to me," she said. Eric Holtz is a shark educator at the Fort Fisher Aquarium. When asked about shark bites, he said, "It's usually a mistake. We are not on the sharks' menu, but they do make a mistake, they're curious... they get excited and it's a case of mistaken identity." Vacationers said this incident won't change their future plans. Kelly Hensley said, "I'll be coming back every year but I probably won't get back in the ocean for a while." Matthew Baker was treated at and released from a local hospital. Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach Police Departments report no shark encounters this summer.

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