Shark attack victims recovering; air, water patrols likely to end soon
OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — Two children attacked off of Oak Island Sunday are recovering from their injuries at a Wilmington hospital. Meanwhile extra patrols looking for sharks near Oak Island are likely to end soon.
Dr. Borden Hooks, a trauma surgeon at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, said the family of the 12-year-old Asheboro girl involved in the first attack has asked for privacy, so updates on her condition are not available beyond the early reports that she lost her left arm to the bite. Dr. Hooks said the 16-year-old Colorado boy attacked less then two hours later is in good condition, alert and in good spirits despite what happened. The boy’s left arm was severed just below his shoulder.
“I would like to thank everyone who has cared for my son, from the people who saved him through their quick actions on the beach, to the transport crew, emergency department team, doctors and staff here at New Hanover Regional Medical Center,” the boy’s mother said in a statement released through the hospital. “I appreciate all their efforts.”
Town and county leaders held a news conference to update the situation as the beach reopened this morning.
Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Brian Watts said the two victims were saved by the quick reactions of bystanders on the beach coupled with help from 911 dispatchers and first responders.
“The keys to the success yesterday was the fact that our bystanders on the beach with both of these patients did very quick first aid the correct way,” Watts said.
Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said aerial and shore patrols will continue monitoring the coastline. Brunswick County and Oak Island beaches remain open, Town Manager Tim Holloman said. He added that swimmers should avoid the mouth of the river, people fishing and other areas where sharks are prone to be.
“Make sure you have a partner with you and stay alert,” Holloman said.
Ingram said two sharks, or possibly the same one, were spotted after the attacks. The size of one shark sighted was estimated at about seven feet long. The second sighting was a shark of the same general size.
Holloman said lifeguards would have not made a significant difference in these two incidents.
“We’re not going to stop people from going in the water,” Anselmo said. “I would swim in the water today.”
At an afternoon news conference update, Holloman said the town canceled a surf camp scheduled for this week in the wake of the shark attacks. He also said additional patrols will stop tomorrow unless there is a significant sighting.
Some beach visitors said they wished the patrols would continue at least for a few more days. Meanwhile, many people decided to stay on the sand today or venture only into the shallow water off Oak Island.
Holloman said he believes there has not been a shark attack in the area since the 1970s. The most recent shark bite, though, happened just a few days ago. Thursday a 12-year-old girl suffered lacerations on her foot when a shark bit her in the water off Ocean Isle Beach then took two bites out of her boogie board.