Lifeguard on Duty at Hilton Head Island Suffers Shark Attack

by Emily Morgan

On Tuesday, a shark bit a lifeguard while on duty on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The shark attack occurred around 11:45 a.m. local time at a resort, according to Mike Wagner, operations manager of Shore Beach Services.

After being notified, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue responded to the call. According to news reports, the lifeguard was transported to a nearby airport. He was then airlifted to Savannah, Georgia, for medical attention.

The victim, who authorities have not yet identified, suffered a deep cut to his upper body. However, he was stable when medical personnel transported him away from the scene. His injury appears to be non-life-threatening, according to Wagner.

According to local expert Chip Michalove, the shark in question was likely a blacktip. The shark species is commonly found in coastal tropical and subtropical waters and swims in more shallow waters.

The attack marks at least the second reported attack off the coast of the Southeastern United States in a week. On July 27, a Tybee Island surf instructor was attacked by a shark during a surf lesson.

Atsushi Yamada, the owner of Hot Sushi’s Happy Surf Camp, was perched on his board, helping one of his students.

“I took my board paddled out to the area. I was informing her, ‘You’re too far and you’re drifting and too close to the jetty.’ I wanted her to come back closer to the shore, which is where everybody was,” he said.

That’s when the shark attack happened.

Local Surfing Instructor Encounters Shark

“I was turning around toward the shore and all of the sudden I got the huge impact,” Yamada said. “I was just so thankful that it wasn’t her and I was so thankful she took the wave.”

Although he was startled by the encounter, Yamada explained to the local news reporters that he did his best to remain calm and not frighten his young students.

After getting back to shore, he was able to wrap his leg while he waited for an ambulance. “It felt like I got hit by a baseball bat,” Yamada said.

The outlet reported that the shark left behind three gashes on his leg, which required a trip to the hospital. Doctors had to put several stitches into his leg.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, he opened up about the shark attack. He wrote that he was “super-duper thankful” that he was the only one in the water at the time of the attack. “It [could] have been much, much worse,” he noted.

On Thursday, Yamada went back to the beach to watch members of his surf camp practice on the water. “They’re the brave ones that they came back and surfed with us two days after the incident happened,” Yamada said.