NEPTUNE BEACH, Florida - A 13-year-old boy was bitten by a shark off the east coast of North Florida during Memorial Day Weekend.
The teen suffered a bite to his lower right leg while swimming in only two feet of water off of Neptune Beach near Jacksonville, Florida. This was the third shark attack in just three weeks near the Jacksonville area. Shark experts are forecasting a record number of shark attacks in 2016.
Just before 3 p.m. on Sunday, Neptune Beach Lifeguards treated the teenager after he was pulled from the surf by other swimmers near Orange Street, according to a statement from the Neptune Beach Police Department.
The size of the bite was consistent with a 5-6 ft. shark, according to Neptune Beach P.D.
“Judging by the bite, it looked to be 7-8 inches wide, so it could have been anywhere from 4-5 feet, maybe even larger,” Captain Richmond Banks of the Neptune Beach Ocean Rescue told News4Jax.
"All you see is just blood dripping and dripping out for about 50 feet and he had a huge gash in his lower leg," witness Lou Demark told First Coast News.
The teen was later transported to UF Health Jacksonville with non-life threatening injuries. As of 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, he was reported to be in stable condition.
Although the type of shark in this attack was not identified, the number one species for biting along the beaches on the U.S. East Coast is the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), but rarely cause a fatality. The shark has black tips on its pectoral fins and grows to no more than about six feet. Blacktips are common all along Florida's east coast and often venture into water less than 1 feet deep.
Florida holds the dubious title of having more shark attacks than any other state in the United States. According to the University of Florida International Shark Attack File, the Sunshine State accounted for 51% of the unprovoked shark attacks in the United States and nearly a third of the world's total shark bites in 2015.
The number of shark attacks in Florida typically increase from May through August as more people head to the beach during the summer travel season.
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