(CBS) – A shark bit an 8-year-old boy in the third attack this season along the North Carolina coast, a local official said. Chris McCall, assistant village manager of Bald Head Island, told news outlets the boy was swimming in open water Sunday afternoon when a shark grabbed him by the leg, causing multiple bite wounds.
WECT-TV reports the child was transported on a ferry to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. The boy is the third person to be attacked by a shark in the state this month.
Last week, a 19-year-old was bitten by a shark in Ocean Isle, about 100 miles down the same coastline from where a 17-year-old girl lost most of her leg to a shark attack at Fort Macon State Park earlier this month. Charlie Winter was in the water near his daughter, Paige, when he heard other teenagers swimming with them at Atlantic Beach shout, “Paige! Shark! Get her!”
But when he looked in the water, he saw only a five-foot trail of pink blood in the water. Winter dove in and grabbed his daughter, pulling a shark up out of the water along with her.
“It was a big shark … I immediately just started to hit it,” he said at a press conference Friday. “I don’t know how many times I punched it, but I hit it with everything I could and it let go.”
Then the former paramedic ran for shore, applying pressure on his daughter’s badly injured leg while the shark chased him “at arm’s length,” he said. In the struggle, Winters added that his daughter had been attempting to pry open the shark’s mouth with her hands.
Afterward, he said she was calm and just kept repeating the word, “dad,” as he carried her to safety. “She’s a tough little thing,” he said with emotion in his voice.
Doctors said the teenager’s left leg and two fingers on her left hand were amputated after what was likely a bull shark attack, based on tooth markings found on her bones. Winter said he saw two sharks in the water just after the attack, but doesn’t know what types of sharks they were.
Unprovoked shark attacks are rare. There were 66 of them worldwide last year, and four fatalities, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.