BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Not one, but two shark attacks within minutes of each other at a North Carolina beach. The two teenage victims both lost limbs. Now Maryland beachgoers are wondering if it could happen here.
Derek Valcourt has some answers.
Experts assure us that this kind of thing is rare. But it’s enough to make those already anxious about sharks even more nervous.
Frantic calls to 911 after a shark took off a 12-year-old’s arm below the elbow and bit her left leg in the water off Oak Island in North Carolina Sunday.
Just two miles away and less than 90 minutes later, a 16-year-old boy lost his left arm in another shark attack.
In both cases, the kids were close to shore–not over their heads.
“Yes. Some shark attacks happen sometimes in waist high water,” said Jack Cover, National Aquarium.
As the curator at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Jack Cover knows sharks and knows your odds of getting attacked are low.
“Statistically, if you look at it, your chances of getting struck by lightning are much greater,” he said.
In fact, shark attacks are so rare in the Mid-Atlantic, since 1900, there have been only six shark attacks off the Maryland coast–seven in Delaware.
Delaware’s most recent bite came just last year when a 16-year-old was bitten in the arm at Cape Henlopen State Park.
And while Mid-Atlantic shark bites are rare, shark sightings are not.
In 2013, bull sharks were caught in the Potomac near a swimming beach.
Last year, a 14-foot tiger shark was found in the Ocean City bay.
And a satellite-tagged white shark cruised offshore last month.
Monday in Ocean City: “We’ve got to remember we’re in their home,” one woman said.
News of the Carolina shark attacks has some thinking of the risks.
“We don’t go past our ankles–ever” said another beachgoer.
In 2014, there were 52 unprovoked shark attacks in the United States–more than half of them happened in Florida.