ISLE OF PALMS — A man told authorities that a shark bit his hand while he was swimming a short distance from the beach on Thursday, the Isle of Palms fire chief said.

Officials were called to the scene near 7th Avenue at 11:19 a.m. The 37-year-old told authorities he was swimming in the breaking waves when the 4 1/2- to 5-foot-long shark nipped his hand, Fire Chief Ann Graham said.

"He needed immediate medical attention, but it didn't look like he was going to have any long-term issues," Graham said.

The man is from Columbia and had been vacationing in the area, the fire chief said. He declined to use an ambulance and went to East Cooper Medical Center in a personal vehicle.

Afterward, authorities scanned the beach but found no reason forconcern. "It was an isolated incident and we hope to keep it that way," Graham said.

Two people suffered suspected shark bites on the island on the same afternoon last August. A 9-year-old boy suffered a bite to his leg in the county park's public swimming area, and a 30-year-old man received a 3-inch gash on his ankle while bodysurfing about four blocks away.

Graham remembered the boy stopping by the fire station with a blue cast shortly after he left the hospital.

"He was doing fine, last we heard."