A shark bit an 8-year-old boy off North Carolina’s coast on Sunday, making it the third shark attack in the state within two weeks.
The child was swimming around Bald Head Island around 4 p.m. when he suffered puncture wounds to his leg, Village Manager Chris McCall said in a statement to HuffPost.
The 8-year-old was transported off the island to receive medical treatment for injuries that were not life-threatening.
McCall said a shark is believed responsible for the child’s injuries “given the type of wounds sustained and an assessment made by first-responders.” The species of shark is not known.
The incident follows similar bites over the last several days.
On June 2, 17-year-old swimmer Paige Winter lost a leg and several fingers after she was bitten in the water near Atlantic Beach. Her father has recalled fighting off the shark by repeatedly punching it until it let her go.
“It was a big shark ... I immediately just started to hit it,” her father, Charlie, said at a press conference. “I don’t know how many times I punched it, but I hit it with everything I could and it let go.”
A bull shark is suspected in that attack.
Then on June 10, 19-year-old Austin Reed had his right foot bitten while surfing at Ocean Isle Beach. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to local news reports.
North Carolina saw just three unprovoked shark attacks last year, according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), a more than 60-year documentation of shark attacks by the Florida Museum of Natural History and the American Elasmobranch Society.
North Carolina is the fifth most common state for such incidents, following South Carolina, California, Hawaii and then Florida, which has seen 1.3-times more attacks than all other states’ totals combined, according to ISAF’s reports.
Last year there were 32 attacks nationwide, one of which was fatal. This was a decline from 53 incidents in 2017.
“The worldwide total number of unprovoked shark attacks is remarkably low given the number of people participating in aquatic recreation each year,” the ISAF’s website notes.
This story has been updated with a response from Village Manager Chris McCall.