Sharks bite three people on the same beach in separate attacks within 24 hours

Conrad Duncan

Three people have been bitten by sharks on the same beach in just 24 hours, with two attacks occurring within 30 minutes of each other.

Multiple separate attacks were recorded over the weekend at New Smyrna Beach in Florida, an area which has been called the “shark attack capital of the world”.

A 20-year-old surfer, Emily Comfort, was bitten on her left hand and wrist on Saturday, according to Volusia County Beach Safety, and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Approximately half an hour later, a 21-year-old surfer named Riley Petrovich was treated for a shark bite on his right foot.

He refused transport to a hospital, according to officials.

On Sunday, beach officials reported that 51-year-old Peter Bourbeau was bitten by what he described as a 4ft shark while standing in knee-deep water.

Mr Bourbeau said he kicked the shark and it swam away.

It is not known whether any of the attacks were committed by the same predator.

Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Programme for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told CNN that sharks are often drawn to New Smyrna Beach by bait fish which gather nearby.

“If you like to surf and you surf in this particular spot, the chances are high that you have been within 10ft of a shark,” he said.

“The surfers all know this. They routinely report seeing sharks in the area. While it may be news to the non-surfing community, it is widely-known to scientists and surfers.”

Shark sightings are relatively common in Volusia County, where there has been 303 unprovoked attacks recorded since 1882, according to research by the Florida Museum of Natural History.

That number is the highest for a county in the US.

There have been 1,441 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in the US since 1837 with the majority occurring in Florida (828 attacks), according to the museum.

In 2018, the museum reported 16 unprovoked shark attacks in the state, accounting for half of all such attacks in the US last year.