Myrtle Beach shark bite confirmed

Myrtle Beach police said that an injury to a 10-year-old boy in the ocean Monday has been confirmed by an expert as a shark bite.

Photos were taken of the boy's injury and "an expert reviewed them and believes that the bite was indeed from a smaller shark, possibly a black tip - a fish-eating shark," said Capt. David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

On Tuesday, Knipes released a police dispatch summary of the incident because a report was not filed since a crime was not committed.

Beach patrol officers were called to the area of 73rd Avenue north on the beach for the shark bite and found the boy out of the water in a chair being assisted by an emergency worker, who was on vacation, according to the dispatch summary.

The boy’s lower left leg was wrapped in a towel and he was alert and talking with a lifeguard and his mother when officers arrived.

Officers drove the boy to the beach access at 69th Avenue North where he was taken by EMS to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. He was treated and released Monday.

George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, which tracks shark attacks nationwide, confirmed that the boy's wound was from a shark attack, making it at least the second confirmed shark attack in South Carolina so far this year.

In addition to Monday's incident, there have been two shark bites reported - off Fripp and Otter islands south of Charleston, according to DNR officials. But Burgess said Monday that they have only been able to confirm that one was a shark bite.

The 10-year-old boy had a bandage on his left leg when paramedics put him the ambulance at the beach access at 69th Avenue North after the 10:30 a.m. incident.

Knipes said he was taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, where a doctor examined the wound and thought it was a bite mark, he said. The boy's family, from Gettysburg, Pa., did not want to comment.

Photos of the boy's injury also were to be sent to the state Department of Natural Resources to determine what attacked the boy, Knipes said.

As of 3:50 p.m. Monday, DNR officials had not yet received the photos, said spokesman Mike Willis. He said officials typically are able to determine whether it was a shark attack by the bite pattern.

A clear, distinct pattern of the bite and knowing where and how a person was bitten helps officials determine whether it was a shark, said Mel Bell, director of DNR's Office of Fisheries Management.

"Sometimes it is kind of obvious," Bell said. "It's a judgment thing on our part."

There have been 18 shark attacks in Horry County and four in Georgetown County between 1837 and 2009, according to the International Shark Attack File's website. In Brunswick County, N.C., there have been five shark attacks since 1935.

So far this year, only one attack in the United States, which occurred in Florida, has been fatal, Burgess said.

Around the time of the boy's injury Monday beachgoers near the scene said they saw a shark in the surf.

Jamelle Blasko of Pittsburgh said she saw a shark's fin in the water in Myrtle Beach a few minutes before Monday's incident. Blasko, who lived in Myrtle Beach for about five years, said she was taking photos of pelicans in the ocean when she saw the fin the water.

"They live in the ocean. What are you going to do?" Blasko said. "For now we're going in the pool."

Ten-year-old Jessica Castle from Virginia said she was walking the beach with her family when she saw something strange in the ocean.

"We saw the fish jumping up in the water and then the shark fin," the girl said. "I'm afraid another one is going to come."