Area lifeguards on watch for sharks after surfer bitten multiple times at Jensen Public Beach

— A bull shark bit a man who was surfing Thursday afternoon in the waters off Jensen Public Beach, Martin County Fire Rescue said.

The man suffered multiple bites to his left arm, but crews were able to control his bleeding and none of his injuries appear to be life-threatening. The man refused medical transport and was taken to a local hospital by his wife, Fire Rescue Bureau Chief Daniel Harshburger said.

The man said the shark's round nose came out of the water and that the shark was 5 to 6 feet long, said Capt. Emily Hall, Martin County Ocean Rescue.

The bite comes amid several recent reports of sharks in area waters. Lifeguards twice today had to call all swimmers and surfers out of the water at Jensen Public Beach after sharks were spotted in the area, Hall said. Lifeguards had swimmers and surfers wait 20 to 30 minutes after the last shark was seen before returning to the water.

Lifeguards and ocean-rescue officials in northern Palm Beach County said they have not yet received reports of sharks in their area, which extends north from Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach to Coral Cove Park in Tequesta.

"This is the time of year where we see more shark migration," Hall said. "It is not uncommon to see (sharks). After all it is their environment."

Sharks have been spotted at other Atlantic Coast beaches in Florida. On Wednesday, a teenage boy and a young girl suffered bites within five minutes of each other in New Smyrna Beach, about 140 miles north of Jensen Beach, Volusia County Beach Patrol said.

Both were surfing in waist-deep water in the same area, and both described the shark that bit them as being about 4 or 5 feet long. Both were taken to a nearby hospital, the boy with cuts on a calf and the girl with a bite to an ankle.

About 2 p.m. Thursday, Martin County officials received a report of a fisherman in an unguarded portion of the beach snagging a 5-foot spinner shark, Harsuburger said. However, the fisherman and other beachgoers returned the shark to the water, he said.

Fishing from the beach is not allowed in guarded areas of beaches where people are swimming because sharks are known for following schools of fish, Hall said

Jensen Public Beach flew a double-red flag for the remainder of the afternoon, Martin County Fire Rescue said. That flag means the water is closed to the public, but the beach itself remains open.

Martin County officials plan to reopen the beach Friday morning if there are no shark sightings.

Staff writer Julius Whigham II, the website TCpalm.com and The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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