Multiple people injured after shark attacks in Texas and Florida on Fourth of July

While news of shark attacks can be jarring for beachgoers, researchers say humans are still far more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a shark.
Shark Bite South Padre Island
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jul 05, 2024

Several people were injured during the Fourth of July holiday in multiple shark attacks reported in Texas and Florida.

A 21-year-old man from Ohio was bitten on his foot by a shark while playing football in "knee-deep water" at Florida's New Smyrna Beach on Thursday afternoon and taken to a hospital, according to Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.

The bite happened around 4 p.m., and the injuries were not life-threatening, said Tamra Malphurs, the office’s interim director.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, at least four people were taken to the hospital in Texas on Thursday with bite wounds — including one that was severe — after being attacked while swimming in the waters off South Padre Island.

The Nassau County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit found the victim with a critical injury when they responded to the shark attack on June 28, 2024.


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Citing statements from officials, the outlet said the bites stemmed from two separate incidents, but a single shark is believed to be responsible.

Photos shared on social media by the U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector showed first responders treating one of the bite victims, whose leg is covered in blood and appears to be missing a large chunk of their calf. Officials said two Border Patrol agents "pulled the shark attack victim from the water" before rendering "lifesaving aid."



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"Shark encounters of this nature are not a common occurrence in Texas," the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a statement. "When bites from sharks do occur, they are usually a case of mistaken identity by sharks looking for food."

While shark attacks like these can be jarring for beachgoers, they are still considered very rare.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said humans are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning in the state than bitten by a shark, and it notes that experts believe an increase in shark bites in recent years is more connected to a rise in human visitors than it is shark activity.

According to the International Shark Attack File, run out of the University of Florida, there have been fewer than 10 shark bites reported in Texas since 2012. This places the Lone Star State behind Florida, which has had 259 reported bites; Hawaii, which has had 76; South Carolina, which has had 45; North Carolina, which has had 31; and California, which has had 29.