Coastal safety tips post shark bite at North Topsail Beach

PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. (WITN) -A 14-year-old from West Virginia, Blayne Brown, who was bitten by a shark at North Topsail Beach on Sunday afternoon, has been discharged from the hospital.

After the accident, beachgoers quickly covered his injured leg with towels and clothing.

Joel Fodrie, a UNC professor, emphasized the severity of shark bites, stating, “A shark can have lasting effects and greatly impact someone’s day.”

Brown described the attack as traumatic and frightening, having been fearful of the ocean even before the incident. Experts stress that sharks are always a potential danger.

“Even one, five, or ten encounters are highly dangerous, underscoring the skittish nature of large sharks,” Fodrie explained.

Fodrie advised beachgoers to stay vigilant. “If you observe baby fish at the surface or dolphins, it may signal larger predators like sharks nearby,” he cautioned.

The Florida Museum of Natural History reported 11 shark bites along the U.S. coast in the past six months, with 69 unprovoked attacks globally in 2023. While rare, shark attacks can occur along the Carolinas’ coast.

“Shark bites and encounters are most prevalent in wavy, turbulent beach areas,” Fodrie noted, adding that incidents are less common in estuaries.

Shark bites in North Carolina are typically more frequent during the winter and early spring.