A young boy visiting the Lowcountry from Utah was bitten by a shark off Isle of Palms Tuesday.
Kysen Weakley, 12, tells News 2 around 6 p.m., he was playing with a younger cousin in knee-deep water at IOP Park when he felt something bite his leg. According to Kysen’s mother, the shark wrapped its mouth around his leg and let go immediately. Kysen then took his cousin and rushed out of the water.
“I felt a prick in my leg. I like turned around and saw the sharks fin like swimming away.” Kysen said.
Kysen was taken to Nason Medical Center where he was treated and released. It is not known at this time what type of shark bit Kysen, or how big it was.
In May, a man was bitten by a shark off Sullivan’s Island, but was not seriously injured. And there have been at least six other shark attacks off the North Carolina coast in the past month.
Hear from Kysen and his family only on News 2 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission has issued a statement on the incident:
We are disheartened that a child was bitten by a shark this week at Isle of Palms County Park. Shark sightings in the ocean surrounding the county park are generally uncommon, and shark bites at our beach parks are extremely rare. Prior to this week, the last shark bite at Isle of Palms County Park occurred in 2007 just outside the park swimming area; that patient also suffered minor injuries and was released. Thankfully, the injury sustained by the young man in the incident this week was also not severe and he received medical attention immediately.
As with any natural environment, the Atlantic Ocean is home to many creatures, including sharks. And the waters of Isle of Palms County Park are no exception. According to the United States Lifeguard Association (USLA), 70 to 100 shark attacks happen worldwide each year. However, only 6 shark attack fatalities have taken place in the U.S. since 2010. The odds of being killed by fireworks or drowning in the ocean are much higher than the odds of being the victim of a shark-related fatality (1 in 3.75 million).
As always, staff at your Charleston County Parks encourage the public to swim under the watch of a lifeguard at all times. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, other tips for avoiding sharks can include: swimming in groups; avoiding the water at dawn, dusk or nighttime; not entering the water if bleeding; avoiding wearing shiny jewelry or bright clothing; and using extra care near sandbars, drop-offs, far away from shore, and waters that are being fished or contain bait fishes. Many attacks appear to happen when people are mistaken by the shark for their normal food, fish. Visitors to Charleston County beach parks can rest assured that our lifeguard staff, who are on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day during the summer, are on the constant lookout for sharks and will immediately close the water if one is spotted. The safety of all who visit our park systems is our number one priority and is one of our core values that guides us to provide a healthy and thriving park system to the community, each and every day.