FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – It was a close call for a surfer on Folly Beach.
WCBD received pictures from the Ocean Surf Shop showing the aftermath of an apparent shark attack on a surfboard.
Jack O’Neill, 27, says he was swimming out to catch a wave when the shark, which he estimates to be about 8 feet long, chomped down on his board, biting off a chunk of it.
The incident happened on Tuesday before noon near the 5th Street area of the beach, which is near Charleston.
Luckily, Jack was able to escape without any injuries and he swam to shore.
“I was kind of freaking out,” he told the Charleston Post and Courier, adding that he actually saw the shark take the bite.
Shark bites and attacks in the Summer of 2015 hurt 11 people in the Carolinas.
Arnold Postell, shark expert at the South Carolina Aquarium, says that sharks do not want to bite or even interact with humans. It’s all a case of mistaken identity.
“We are just not on the food chain for sharks,” Postell said. “They don’t like everything they eat. So most of the time, it’s a single bite. The shark realize that it’s not their normal food so they let it go and continue hunting,” Postell added.
So how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Postell says look at your surroundings and look out for “active” fish.
If there’s a lot of fish jumping, sharks could be there as well, looking for food. Also, if there are fisherman on the beach or pier close to you, sharks could be attracted to the bait.
Postell adds not to be afraid to go into the water, just be mindful of your surroundings.