Two men are recovering after being attacked by sharks along the eastern Florida coast within just an hour of each other. Competitive surfer Frank O’Rourke and 49-year-old William Angell both suffered injuries on Saturday in separate incidents more than 100 miles apart. Both men are expected to make full recoveries.
Speaking to WJXX, O’Rourke, 23, explained that he was surfing at Jacksonville Beach and was lying on his boogie board when he was bitten by a shark at around 3:30 p.m.
“I felt something jump out of the water and latch onto my arm by my elbow. It just grabbed onto me and thrashed in the water and swam away,” he recalled. “I'm very lucky that I still have an arm. You can see the jawline, like where the jawline is of the shark...There's still blood on my surfboard."
The attack lasted roughly 30 seconds, leaving O’Rourke with minor injuries that did not require hospitalization. Instead, he was treated on the scene, and he plans to return to the water.
“If it's your time, it's your time," he said. "If the [sharks] want you, they want you. You're more likely to get struck by lightning than killed by a shark. I'm going to buy a lottery ticket!"
O’Rourke wasn’t the only beachgoer to be attacked on Saturday. An hour after the attack at Jacksonville Beach and 110 miles south, Angell, who was enjoying a day at New Smyrna Beach, was bitten on the right thigh while boogie boarding.
“Victim received lacerations to the right thigh from one strike. The shark was not seen," Volusia County officials said in a release, noting that the attack occurred at around 4:30 p.m. “The victim was treated on scene and was not transported by ambulance."
According to ABC News, Angell’s injuries were not considered serious and he was able to drive himself to Bert Fish Medical Center in nearby Edgewater, Florida, for further treatment.
CBS News reports that shark attacks at New Smyrna Beach are not all that uncommon, with the beach considered to be “shark bite capital of the world." There have been more than 300 unprovoked attacks in Volusia County, where the beach is located, since the 1800s.
The Saturday attacks come just weeks after a 16-year-old girl was bitten on the heel and ankle area of her foot while vacationing in Amelia Island, Florida. The teen was transported to a hospital where her injuries were tended to and was said to need six weeks of therapy before she would be able to walk again.
So far, there have been a 24 reported and verified shark attacks in the U.S. in 2019, with eight of those occurring in Florida, according to Tracking Sharks.
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