A lot of wildlife related news on Sullivan’s Island Monday after an alligator was pulled out of the surf, and then a few hours later, a man was bitten by a shark. On Tuesday, there were many people out enjoying the sand and the waves, and these tourists say the run-ins with the alligator and shark aren’t changing anything about their vacations.
One tourist, Pamela Wilson, says, “That’s kind of rare that it happens, so I’m not worried about it.”
Another says, “We still came out today because we wanted to have some fun.”
One man, Greg Thomas, says, “Not at all, it’s beautiful out here. We’ve been out here a number of times and, really, alligators, sharks, snakes, coyotes, you see on the sign coming to the station up here, it’s fine nothing’s ever going to bother you.”
But they say hearing about the alligator was shocking.
Thomas says, “Absolutely, when you hear about an alligator on the beach you normally don’t hear about stuff like that. Sharks, sure, dolphins, yeah of course you see them out here, but alligators, not normally.”
We are coming up on one of the biggest beach weekends of the year and the Mayor of Sullivan’s Island, Dr. Pat O’Neil, tells News 2 when the weather is nice the population of the island can triple for the fourth of July. He says Sullivan’s Island will have a full force of police and extra public safety personnel on staff this weekend to accommodate the influx of people. Sullivan’s Island Town Administrator, Andy Benke, says beach-goers need to be cautious.
Benke says, “Any time you are in the ocean you should be vigilant and aware of what’s around you. Whether it’s sharks or alligators or rip currents or strong winds, or even the changes in tides. So yeah, we always encourage people to be vigilant in the ocean environment.”
Beach-goers tell News 2 they aren’t afraid to go in the water, but they are scoping out the surf a little more carefully.
Kelly Wilson says, “I didn’t go quite as deep as normally.”
Pamela Wilson says, “They’re wild and where water is. I hate it, but that’s just, you just have to watch out for them and not be stupid about it. Don’t get close to it.”
Mayor O’Neil says alligators and sharks are less of a concern than the rip currents. He says visitors should not try to swim out to the sandbars, because that is often where people get caught in the dangerous currents.