An 8-year-old boy suffered minor injuries Wednesday after being bitten by a shark while swimming in knee-deep water in Surf City, N.C.
The town has no plans to warn visitors about the shark bite or tell swimmers to stay out of the water, Town Manager Larry Bergman said. However, the town has increased its beach patrols.
"It really comes down to a joint decision on public safety officials, including myself," Bergman said. He said he would have decided to close the beaches "if there was a big hazard, if there was an imminent danger."
The town does not have an official lifeguarding staff, instead employing police officers and water-rescue-trained firefighters to patrol the beaches on four-wheelers. Beachgoers swim “kind of at their own risk,” Bergman said.
He said some people have approached police officers after hearing about the bite on social media.
"News travels really fast," he said.
Bergman said the boy had superficial wounds on his lower leg, heel and ankle. He was treated by emergency personnel at the scene. Afterward, his parents took him to an emergency room to have the wounds cleaned.
"Police and EMS felt like it wasn't a serious bite," Bergman said.
The child had been swimming about five blocks from a fishing pier Wednesday afternoon. Town policy prohibits people from swimming or surfing within 300 feet of a fishing pier, Bergman said.
The Surf City incident is the fourth shark bite in shallow water off a North Carolina beach in the past two weeks. On June 11, a 13-year-old girl suffered small cuts on her foot from a shark bite at Ocean Isle Beach. Three days later, two separate shark attacks occurred within 90 minutes at Oak Island, N.C. Both victims, ages 12 and 16, had an arm amputated after the attacks. One victim had been swimming about 100 yards from a fishing pier when she was attacked.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.