Since 1980, there have been 20 shark attacks reported in the United States, six of which have been fatal. On Tuesday, news broke that a shark attack took place off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to CNN, the 25-year-old victim was fishing near the Intracoastal Waterway when a shark chomped into his leg as he rode a 20-foot-long Coleman fishing boat out to sea. His friend jumped off to get help but was bitten on the right arm by a bull shark. Luckily, the victim was able to escape to shore with only puncture wounds to his leg. He was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“According to reports, the victim of the shark attack had a fishing cage in the water with him, according to his friend,” the report went on to say. “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the shark attack victim, a young man, was in the water when the attack occurred.”
BREAKING: Shark attack off coast of Ft. Lauderdale, five people injured after suspected manatee that stepped in to lanes of boat strikes human. pic.twitter.com/YmySGJD7Fb — CBS News (@CBSNews) January 29, 2019
As of now, the victim has not yet been identified. The investigation is ongoing, but officials have said that the incident was “the result of a mauling shark mistake.” Officials from the conservation group Marine Rescue told the Miami Herald that “staff just witnessed an attack where a shark took a person’s legs.” They added that it is usually not the norm for people to be attacked when they are out in the ocean. “Usually, people get attacked when they’re in the ocean when a larger animal swallows them whole.”
However, shark attacks have occurred off the coasts of Florida and North Carolina in the past. “Some people really do not understand sharks,” Stephen Palumbi, a shark expert, told the Miami Herald. “We don’t understand them, we don’t do what they do, and they also don’t understand us.”