East Coast Beaches Wary After Shark Attack Off Cape Cod

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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CAPE COD, Mass. (WJZ) — A man swimming off Cape Cod is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a great white shark.

Alex DeMetrick reports while attacks are extremely rare, all kinds of sharks are common along East Coast beaches, including Maryland.

The bite marks went to the bone, but the man still managed to make it to shore earlier this week in Cape Cod.

“He stated to me it had been a shark that attacked his legs,” said one lifeguard, who was on the scene.

And not just any shark. Evidence points to a great white.

Along Cape beaches, a number of great whites have been seen because their favorite food is there–a massive congregation of gray seals.

“The presence of seals in the area, all this adds up to the white shark as the most likely candidate,” said biologist Dr. Greg Skomal.

There is also the way the attack appears to have happened. At the National Aquarium, shark expert Alan Henningsen says whites have a unique way of hunting and taste in prey.

“It is the case with white sharks,because they’ll come up from the bottom and strike their prey and in this case, found out it wasn’t a seal or another prey item and let him go,” he said.

“This guy is extremely lucky and he should probably go out and buy a lottery ticket because he dodged a bullet on this one,” said Simon Thorrold, shark expert.

The last great white attack off New England was 1936, and it was fatal.

In Ocean City, great whites are not a concern because Maryland sees few seals. But there are still plenty of other types of sharks.

“There are sharks off shore and lots of people in the summertime. But off Maryland waters there has never been a recorded case of an unprovoked shark attack. The chances of getting attacked by any shark are very, very slim. Less than being struck by lightning,” said Henningsen.

The swimmer that was bitten in Massachusetts is expected to make a full recovery.

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