More News:

May 22, 2023

Pennsylvania teen attacked by shark in Stone Harbor, officials say

The 15-year-old girl was surfing off the 109th Street beach when she suffered non-life-threatening lacerations determined to be 'consistent' with a shark attack

Wildlife Sharks
stone harbor shark Borough of Stone Harbor/Facebook

A 15-year-old Pennsylvania girl sustained several non-life-threatening injuries in a possible shark attack while surfing in Stone Harbor, officials say.

A Pennsylvania teen was injured Sunday at the Jersey Shore in a possible shark attack, according to officials.

The 15-year-old girl was surfing off the 109th Street beach in Stone Harbor when she sustained several lacerations to her left foot and calf, according to a statement released by borough officials. Stone Harbor police, fire and rescue squads responded to the scene at approximately 3 p.m. after receiving a 911 call about a possible shark attack.

After administering immediate onsite medical treatment, authorities transported the girl to Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, where she received six stitches. The injuries were not life-threatening.

Police have been working in collaboration with marine life experts to find out the exact cause of the surfer's wounds. The New Jersey State Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the girl's injuries are "consistent with those typically associated with a shark of unknown size and type."

With Memorial Day weekend looming, Stone Harbor officials have not placed any restrictions on beach activities at this time.

"The local police and fire departments are fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of both residents and tourists," Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour said. "They are taking appropriate measures to thoroughly assess the situation and provide necessary updates to the public."

The odds of a shark attack in the United States are 1 in 11.5 million, according to the International Shark Attack File's (ISAF) report on beach injuries and fatalities. In New Jersey, there have been just 15 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks since 1837, according to ISAF data.

People tend to overestimate the risks posed by sharks. Fear of the creatures may stem from a string of shark attacks that took place along the Jersey Shore back in 1916, when four people were killed by sharks in two weeks.

Experts assert that most sharks are not dangerous to people, as only about 12 out of the more than 300 species of sharks have been involved in attacks on humans, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Humans are not part of sharks' natural diets, as they would much prefer to eat fish and marine mammals. Experts have found that sharks tend to be more disturbed by large crowds, though they generally ignore people.

Despite this, the eastern seaboard of the U.S. has seen shark attacks double in the last 20 years, according to a study on trends released in 2019.

In 2020, Delaware officials shut down multiple beaches at Cape Henlopen State Park in Sussex County after a possible shark bite; a 12-year-old boy sustained puncture wounds to one of his legs.

While shark attacks are rare, many sharks travel near the coast of the Jersey Shore. OCEARCH, an organization that tags and tracks sharks globally to promote ocean research and conservation, has pinged several sharks near the state in recent years. One was a 998-pound great white shark named Ironbound who stopped by last May on his way north.

Follow Franki & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @wordsbyfranki | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice
Have a news tip? Let us know.