Photo via Matt Kowalczyk/ Flickr
Three surfers were bitten in the span of a few hours on Sunday in New Smyrna Beach. Officials believe a large amount of bait fish near the shore may have contributed to an increased number of shark attacks, according to the Orlando Sentinel
“It is out of the ordinary to have three people bitten back-to-back, but it’s not unheard of and has actually happened before. Typically, this doesn’t happen more than once or twice a year,” Capt. Tamra Marris, a spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue, told the Sentinel.
A 43-year-old man from Longwood was bitten on the lower leg near the ankle at about 10:40 a.m. At 11 a.m., a 36-year-old Miami man was bitten on both hands. Both men were hospitalized, according to News 7 Miami
. The third bite occurred around 1 p.m. to a 16-year-old boy from New Smyrna, who received only minor injuries after being bitten on his inner thigh.
“We have signs to warn people of marine life in the water and also fly a purple flag to warn visitors,” Marris said. “I tell people if you see birds diving in the water that usually means there is bait fish and you should probably leave that area until the fish pass so it’s safe.”
None of the injuries are considered life-threatening and the surfers are expected to be OK.