Governor: North Carolina looking for shark attack patterns

AP News
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Posted: Jul 02, 2015 12:48 PM
Governor: North Carolina looking for shark attack patterns

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Safety officials are still trying to find patterns in the series of shark attacks on the North Carolina coast that might help keep the key tourism region safe for visitors, Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday.

McCrory spoke after the seventh shark attack in the past three weeks, the most for the state's coast in the 80 years for which the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File keeps records. The highest previous total was five attacks in 2010.

"We're still looking for a pattern," McCrory said. "I am going to be talking to my secretary of public safety to see if there is any one fit-all approach to dealing with this issue. I doubt there is because each circumstance is so different."

Local governments could consider restrictions on luring sharks to fishing hooks around areas where people swim, especially during the summer tourist season, McCrory said.

The latest shark attack was Wednesday, when 68-year-old Andrew Costello was bitten repeatedly in waist-deep water off Ocracoke Island on the state's Outer Banks. Reports list Costello's hometown as Wareham, Massachusetts, National Park Service Outer Banks spokeswoman Cyndy Holda said. He was the former editor-in-chief of the Boston Herald, the newspaper reported Thursday.

A spokeswoman at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville could not provide an updated report of Costello's condition Thursday. He was in fair condition Wednesday night.

Costello suffered wounds to his ribcage, lower leg, hip and both hands as he tried to fight off the animal, said Justin Gibbs, the director of emergency services in Hyde County. The attack happened around noon on a beach watched by a lifeguard as Costello swam in waist-deep water about 30 feet offshore, the National Park Service said in a news release. No other swimmers were injured.

Most of this year's North Carolina shark attacks happened in shallow water. The injuries ranged widely: An 8-year-old boy had only minor wounds to his heel and ankle, while at least two other people required amputation. Another person, attacked Saturday, had initially been considered at critical risk of dying.

McCrory said he may visit the North Carolina mountains for the upcoming holiday weekend and plans to spend Independence Day at several community parades.

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Emery P. Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio

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Associated Press writer John Moritz contributed to this report.