DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- While things have been calm so far this week along the World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona and further south in Daytona Beach Shores, Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna, the flying of the red flag Sunday was so apropos, considering a rare instance of three shark bite victims on the same day near the South Jetty on the New Smyrna Beach side.
Plus there was the rescue of a man in a boat that was overwhelmed by choppy waters and a teen swimmer injured when he was caught by surprise by a strong wave that slammed him head first into the bottom was transported to the hospital as a precaution. The reg flag symbols high danger alert in the surf while yellow flag enciurages beach-goers to exercise caution in the water.
The shark trifecta, though far from a normal occurrence, happened to occur on a day where bait fish were plentiful. They in turn draw the typical 5- to 6-feet spinner sharks.
“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. Tammra Marris, spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue, told Headline Surfer.
“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, spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue, told Headline Surfer.
The first bite happened at about 10:40 a.m. Sunday when a 43-year-old Longwood man was bitten near his ankle, Marris said.
Then at 11 a.m., a 36-year-old Miami man was bitten on both hands. The final shark bite incident was reported at 1 p.m. when a 16-year-old New Smyrna Beach surfer was bitten on one of his inner thighs, which could have been worse had the bite occurred a little higher.
The latter two shark-bite victims were transported to Bert Fish Medical Center for stitches.
As if the beach patrol units weren't busy enough, a teen swimmer in chest-deep water was injured when he was caught off guard by a large wave. Like two of the shark-bite victims, he too was transported for minor injuries.
And a marine unit rescued a man in an overturned boat that took on water from the choppy waters on Sunday as well on Sunday afternoon with moderate to light crowds reported throughout the 49 miles of Volusia County shoreline.
On Monday, the yellow flag was flown with two ocean rescues for swimmers caught up in rip currents. Tuesday and earlier today saw the flying of the yellow flag as well, but there were no rescues with sparse crowds up and down the shoreline, Sunday included in terms of attendance.
Volusia County has had 12 shark bite incidents so far this year, up from seven shark attacks in 2015, according to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida.