Shark experts have a not-so-reassuring explanation for a recent spate of attacks along on the coast of the Carolinas: It’s mainly because so many people are getting in the water.
Six shark attacks were recorded in June in North Carolina waters, and the two most recent victims had to be flown to a hospital in Virginia for treatment.
That’s more than North Carolina has recorded in any single year dating to 2000.
A hospital spokeswoman said the latest victim of a shark attack off North Carolina’s coast didn’t lose any limbs to the predator that nearly took his life.
Kim Van Sickel said Monday the 18-year-old remained in serious condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Va. He was airlifted to the hospital on Saturday in critical condition from the national seashore near Cape Hatteras. The National Park Service said Saturday the teen suffered injuries to his right calf, buttocks and both hands while swimming with others.
Sharks have attacked several children along North Carolina’s coast this month, including a 13-year old girl and a 16-year old boy who each lost their left arms.
The weekend shark attack made six in less than three weeks off the coasts of the Carolinas.
In South Carolina, a vacationer at Hunting Island State Park was bitten on the top of his foot Friday by a shark he estimated to be 4 feet long; the injury was not believed to be too serious, said Scott Harris, Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District spokesman. The man was waist-deep in rough water with 3-foot waves.
In May, a man swimming off Sullivan’s Island also was bitten.
Persistent winds from offshore have driven baitfish in closer to the beaches, attracting sharks. The winds have roiled surf, making it harder for sharks to distinguish the fish they eat from a human moving in the water.
There were 28 attacks reported in Florida in 2014. So far this year, there have been 11 shark attacks there, with eight of those in neighboring Brevard and Volusia counties. Volusia is home to Daytona Beach, which often is packed with tourists.
Bo Peteresen of The Post and Courier contributed to this story.