Boy, 8, Bit by Shark in North Carolina, Incident Is Third Attack in Weeks: Here's How to Stay Safe

Char Adams
Boy, 8, Bit by Shark in North Carolina, Incident Is Third Attack in Weeks: Here's How to Stay Safe

An 8-year-old boy survived a shark attack near North Carolina’s Bald Head Island on Sunday, leaving him with leg wounds, PEOPLE confirms.

The boy, whose name has not been made public, was swimming off the coast when he was attacked, Bald Head Island officials tell PEOPLE in a statement. Authorities said they could tell from puncture wounds on the child’s leg that he had been bitten by a shark.

Authorities got a call about the attack around 4 p.m. He was taken by ferry to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery, ABC News reported.

The incident marked the third shark attack in North Carolina in less than a month.

On June 11, 19-year-old Austin Reed was attacked while swimming off Ocean Isle Beach, WWAY reported. He described his wound as a “deep tooth bite” on his foot.

Paige Winter, who was attacked by a shark in North Carolina earlier this month | Go Fund Me

“I remember I told my friend, ‘If there was any time to get bit by a shark, it’d be today,’ ” Reed told the station. “I don’t know why I said that. And then, like I just felt something grab onto my leg and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ “

About a week later, on June 2, Paige Winter was attacked at Atlantic Beach, and had to have her left leg amputated as a result. She was at the beach with her family in waist-deep water when the animal pulled her under. She suffered “deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas,” Atlantic Beach Fire Department spokesperson previously told PEOPLE in a statement.

Winter’s father, Charlie, sprang into action when the shark pulled his daughter under.

“Charlie wouldn’t stop until it released his little girl. He lives for his children,” close family friend Brandon Bersch told Today. Paige’s grandmother, Janet Winter, reportedly added of Charlie in a Facebook post, “He punched the shark in the face [five] times before it let go.”

As beach season gets underway here are a few tips to avoid and survive the attacks:

Don’t Swim at Dawn or at Night

Sharks are most active at dusk, dawn and night, according to Oceana USA.

Don’t Enter the Water If You’re Bleeding

Sharks can detect the slightest hint of blood, Oceana USA reported. The organization recommends not bringing dead or bleeding fish into the water and avoiding fishing areas.

Remain Vertical and Avoid Wearing Bright Swim Suits

Remaining vertical will prevent you from looking like prey to the shark, according to the organization. As sharks see contrast well, it is best to not attract sharks by wearing brightly colored outfits.


If You Are Attacked by a Shark:

Defend Yourself

If you believe an attack may occur, experts recommend defending yourself anyway that you can. A shark’s snout is usually the best area to strike.

“Avoid using your [bare] hands or feet if you can avoid it; if not, concentrate your blows against the shark’s delicate eyes or gills,” National Geographic reported, citing the ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research.

Do Not Play Dead

If the shark has a part of your body in its mouth, fight the shark as much as you can and do not play dead,” according to National Geographic.

“I advise to be as aggressively defensive as you are able. ‘Playing dead’ does not work,” said George Burgess, with the International Shark Attack File, according to National Geographic. “Pound the shark in any way possible. Try to claw at the eyes and gill openings, two very sensitive areas.”