Beaches Remain Open Following Multiple Shark Attacks in North Carolina
Officials evacuated the ocean in Oak Island, North Carolina on Sunday following a pair of shark attacks in a span of less than 90 minutes.
According to Rod Overton of WNCN, the beaches in the area are open to the public on Monday. However officials recommend that beachgoers avoid going in the water until crews "get a better handle on the situation."
A 12-year-old girl suffered injuries to her left arm and left leg after she was attacked around 4 p.m. local time, according to Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace via WNCN. The second attack involved a 16-year-old male who is said to have lost his arm after an encounter around 5:30 p.m.
The two victims were flown to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where they are reportedly stable after coming out of surgery on Sunday night.
Adding to the concern, Sunday's attacks occurred just three days after a 13-year-old girl was injured in an attack at nearby Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County.
In addition to evacuating the surf on Sunday, officials patrolled the coast with a helicopter that's expected to continue to monitor the ocean from the sky on Monday. "The Brunswick County Sheriff's department will have Marine One and their helicopter support to monitor the coastline for any activities tomorrow," said town manager Tim Holloman on Sunday via ABC News.
Despite the recent outbreak, Oak Island officials maintain that shark attacks are extremely rare, with only 45 unprovoked shark attacks being recorded in the continental U.S. last year, according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History via WNCN. Less than 10 percent of those occurred in North Carolina.
"Oak Island is still a safe place," said Holloman via ABC News. "We're monitoring the situation. This is highly unusual."
While the beaches at Oak Island remain open, only time will tell whether this past weekend's attacks will impact tourism in Brunswick County and surrounding coastal areas this summer.
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