Shark attack victim felt jaws 'biting up my left arm'

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jun 17, 2015 11:16 AM

By Letitia Stein

(Reuters) - A 16-year-old who lost his arm this week in one of two back-to-back shark attacks in North Carolina said the encounter came without warning and he first saw the predator when its teeth were cutting into his skin.

Hunter Treschl was playing with a cousin on Sunday in waist-deep water off Oak Island, North Carolina, when what felt like a big fish hit his left leg, twice. Then it attached to his arm.

"The first I saw it was when it was biting up my left arm," the teenager from Colorado said in a video posted online by New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where he has been recovering.

"It got that off, eventually," he added.

He was one of two youths seriously injured in the dual shark attacks, which occurred about an hour apart. A 12-year-old girl lost part of her left arm and suffered serious leg injuries.

Kiersten Yow is in stable condition at another hospital, her parents said in a statement on Tuesday.

The North Carolina girl "has a long road to recovery that will include surgeries and rehabilitation," but she is expected to keep her leg, according to her parents, Brian and Laurie Yow.

The back-to-back attacks occurred at the start of the summer tourism season in Oak Island, where officials now are seeking to ban beachside shark fishing through the July 4 holiday weekend, according to the StarNews newspaper.

Authorities in the beach town of 7,000 year-round residents, whose population can swell to 40,000 over the holiday, asked state wildlife officials to limit fishing that can involve a practice called chumming, in which bloody fish parts are tossed into the water to draw predators, the newspaper in Wilmington, North Carolina reported.

Officials acknowledged it was unclear if the measure would be effective, according to the newspaper, which also reported the town is discussing the use of drones to watch for sharks.

Dual shark attacks in such close proximity are extremely rare, said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File database maintained at the University of Florida.

Last year, his group recorded a total of 52 unprovoked and nonfatal attacks in the United States, with almost half occurring off the east coast of Florida. [ID: nL1N0Z11C1]

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Lisa Lambert)