NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Three shark bites were reported in less than 24 hours over the weekend in the waters off of New Smyrna Beach on Saturday and Sunday.
“There was this guy that got bit by a shark and the life guards came racing in,” said Bailey Young.
She and her family were in the water just a few feet away. Beach Patrol confirms the attack happened behind The Pelican condominiums around 2:45 Sunday afternoon.
“We were just out there swimming water about this deep and there’s a guy out there that got bit twice actually,” said Shawn Young, Bailey’s dad.
The Young’s say the man was in knee-deep water helping his children boogie board when the shark bit him on the top of his foot and the back of his ankle.
“He come out here and was just bleeding all over,” said Shawn.
The other two victims were bitten late Saturday afternoon, about two miles north of Sunday’s attack, near the jetty on New Smyrna beach.
“It’s alarming but it’s not necessarily surprising,” said Dr. Gavin Naylor, Program Director for Shark Research at The University of Florida.
He says the conditions were just right for a shark attack. The weather was beautiful, the waves were nice so there were lots of people swimming and surfers in the water.
“It was almost a perfect storm, the tide was going out in an area where there have been a lot of shark bites frankly,” said Dr. Naylor, adding that causes the water to be murky.
He says the sharks looking for bait fish mistakenly bite humans instead. In those conditions, Dr. Naylor warns that swimmers need to be aware.
"If you see bait fish jumping, I would purposefully and calmly get out of the water. When you see that happen,” said Dr. Naylor.
Dr. Naylor says if you can’t get out of the water and find a shark coming at you, punch it in the nose.
“A strike on the nose will take it by surprise. They don’t expect preemptive action by potential prey. If it’s already got you, punch it in eyes or gills,” Dr. Naylor said.
Volusia County Beach Patrol says so far there have been nine shark bites off of their beaches in 2019. None of this past weekend’s victims suffered serious injuries.
According to the Young family, the man who got bitten Sunday joked and said he needed a beer before his wife took him to the hospital to get a couple of stitches.
The Beach Patrol spokesperson says they were flying purple flags Saturday and Sunday and warned folks over a loud speaker of the presence of lots of bait fish in the area, but that did not deter the surfers.