(Reuters) - A North Carolina resort town's beaches remained open to visitors a day after two youths were badly injured in separate shark attacks barely an hour apart, officials said on Monday.
Swimmers were urged to be vigilant and to take basic safety precautions after a 16-year-old boy lost a limb and a 12-year-old girl lost part of an arm in the Sunday attacks, which occurred about 2 miles apart on the same stretch of beach on Oak Island.
The attacks came in waist-deep waters about 20 yards offshore.
The first call reporting the attack on the girl came in about 4:40 p.m. with the second following at 5:51 p.m., officials said.
Both youths, whose names were not released, were out of surgery and in stable condition on Monday. Officials praised bystanders for helping to save their lives by immediately providing first aid.
Authorities planned to closely monitor the waters on Monday but said they believed them to be safe for swimming.
"We have beautiful beaches, and we are still open for business," Oak Island town manager Tim Holloman told reporters.
Officials said they could not confirm whether the attacks involved one shark or two.
The attacks occurred at the start of the summer tourist season at Oak Island, a town of about 7,000 year-round residents that typically sees 30,000 to 40,000 visitors over the July 4 holiday weekend.
Mayor Betty Wallace said on Sunday that shark encounters were so rare as to be practically unheard of.
A sheriff's spokeswoman confirmed authorities had responded to a previous report of a shark attack about 30 miles away at Ocean Isle Beach last Thursday.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla., and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott)