Teen becomes sixth shark bite victim this year in Florida

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shark bite
BARBARA V. PEREZ/ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS
Surfers hit the waves at New Smyrna Beach in Florida. The latest shark bite victim there is an 18-year-old from Indian Harbor Beach.

BY RICHARD TRIBOU
ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS

Florida sharks are doing their part for Shark Week, taking yet another bit out of beachgoers.

The latest victim is 18-year-old Reed Zipperer of Indian Harbor Beach, who was bitten on Monday surfing in New Smyrna Beach on his hand, according to Volusia County Beach Safety.

Zipperer was in waist-deep water when his hand was bitten. He was treated by lifeguards and drove himself to the hospital.

The type of shark was not known.

This is the second shark bite in three days in New Smyrna Beach. On Saturday, a 49-year-old man visiting from Arizona was bitten on the leg while boogie boarding. The weekend also had a reported shark bite in Jacksonville Beach, when a 23-year-old surfer was bitten on the elbow.

MORE IN VOLUSIA

Earlier this year, a 16-year-old girl was bitten by a shark off Amelia Island on July 12, also while boogie boarding, and an 18-year-old surfer was bitten by a shark off New Smyrna Beach on June 30. In April, a shark bit a teenager from Sanford on the calf while he waded in waist-deep water in New Smyrna Beach.

Most years, shark bites happen off Florida’s coasts more than anywhere else in the world, with Volusia County leading the way. That’s often due to surfers near Ponce Inlet getting bitten in the stirred up waters near New Smyrna Beach.

According to the International Shark Attack File, for 2018, shark bites were down worldwide, with only 66 incidents recorded, down from 88 in 2017. Of the 66 in 2018, 32 happened in U.S. waters. Florida was home to half of the 32 attacks with 16 overall in 2018.

BY THE NUMBERS

Volusia County once again led with four bites while Brevard had three, Nassau and St. Lucie counties with two, and one bite each in Duval, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas and St. Johns counties.

Historically, the International Shark Attack File notes that since 1882, Florida has had 827 unprovoked shark attacks. Volusia County is No. 1 by far with 303 while Brevard is No. 2 with 147 and Palm Beach County in third with 76.

The file also tracks the most dangerous months with data since 1926. So in the last 92 years, more than 70 attacks a month have been from July-October with 103 of the attacks coming in September.

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