(OKRACOKE ISLAND, N.C.) — A 68-year-old man was airlifted to a hospital after he was attacked by a six- to seven-foot shark Wednesday off the coast of Okracoke Island in North Carolina, Hyde County and National Park Service officials said.
The victim was bitten on his left side in his lower leg and hip and on both his hands around 12:13 p.m., Hyde County EMS Director Justin Gibbs told ABC News. He added that the victim was conscious when he got into the helicopter, where he gave a description of the attack that allowed officials to confirm he was bitten by a shark.
The man, whose name has not been released, was en route to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina, Gibbs said.
“He had been swimming in about 25-30 feet offshore in about waist-deep water with his adult son,” the National Park Service said in a statement. “There were no other swimmers injured.”
The attack is the seventh shark attack off the North Carolina coast since June, including one in Avon Beach last Friday when a 47-year-old man punched the shark that bit his right leg and lower back.
The alarming number of attacks in North Carolina “is an extremely dangerous situation right now,” said George Burgess, who directs the Florida Program for Shark Research at Florida International University.
“There is clearly a continuing threat situation here,” he told ABC News.
Burgess, along with some law enforcement officials along the coast, are calling for many of the waterfront communities to consider closing the beaches. Burgess added that considering the trend the past couple of weeks, it’s almost a given there will be more victims this Fourth of July weekend.
There are many inherent dangers while swimming in ocean or sound waters. Swimmers are advised to be aware of conditions and their surroundings.
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