Two people in Myrtle Beach survived shark attacks on the same day, Monday, August 15. One of the victims, Karren Sites, required hundreds of stitches in her arm after being bitten. Additionally, her 8-year-old grandson was standing 10 feet away from her when she was attacked.
“I just felt something, I guess, bite me and there was a shark on my arm, I was only in waist-deep water. I kept pushing at it to get it off my arm and it did,” Sites said to WPDE out of Myrtle Beach. Brian Sites, her grandson, was standing near her and saw the incident.
“I couldn’t even see the shark coming up,” said Brian, “but all I saw was the shark jumped up and it didn’t even bite all the way, like I saw the movement of the tail go to the side and then she screamed a little bit and as soon as she touched it, it fell into the water.”
Paramedics took the Pennsylvania native to a local hospital in Myrtle Beach where she underwent surgery. She needed hundreds of stitches and will take some time to heal. Sites did say that this will not deter her from visiting the beach again, but her grandson has a different opinion. “I’ll sit on the sand but I ain’t going in the water,” said Brian.
Shark Attacks Woman, Other Person in Myrtle Beach On Same Day, Marine Biologist Shares Shark Safety Tips
Daniel Abel, a professor of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University, said that the bite was clearly from a shark, judging by the shape. Abel warns that there are certain precautions to take when swimming in the ocean.
“Not to swim at dawn and dusk, there’s not many people in the water then and some of the sharks are closer and feeding,” Abel explained. “Don’t swim where there are schools of small fish offshore. Don’t swim near where people are fishing near piers.”
He also explained that shark attacks are rare, but we should still treat sharks with respect and caution. They are an integral part of our ecosystem, after all. They help regulate ocean populations of fish, seals, and other marine animals. “It’s very important that we treat our sharks, our ocean, and our entire planet with more respect than we do now,” said Abel.
To avoid a shark attack, while rare, it’s best to refrain from excessive splashing and to keep pets out of the water. Animals swim erratically, says the Florida Museum, and will resemble prey to a shark. Sometimes, sharks will bite humans by mistake thinking we’re prey. Such as when surfers sit or paddle on their boards: from below, to a shark, they look like seals. Annually, the average amount of shark bites is around 70, with the average number of shark-related deaths coming in at around 5 a year. Considering how many people enter the water, says the Museum, that’s a relatively small number.
Still, it’s best to prepare and stay cautious when planning to swim in the ocean. Swim with a buddy or a group, and be mindful of where in the water you’re located. Waist-deep water or near shore is safest, and be careful of murky water. While this isn’t a complete list of shark safety tips, just remember to prepare yourself. Have fun out there, but stay safe as well.