EMERALD ISLE — A surfer in Emerald Isle late Wednesday afternoon said he received cuts to his knee and foot and damage to his board in he believes was a shark attack.
Emerald Isle Town Manager Matt Zapp said Thursday in an email Erik "Marty" Martynuik reported he was surfing around sunset Wednesday at the Western Ocean Regional Access off Islander Drive when he saw a dorsal fin and took off toward shore after what looked to him like a shark hit his board, then his foot and kneecap.
He told town officials and media he punched the shark in the nose to escape.
Mr. Zapp said the town could not confirm the attack was by a shark, but said sharks are often spotted in the area and often feed at sunset. He advised swimmers and others to stay out of the water around that time.
Mr. Martynuik could not be reached for comment Friday.
Mr. Zapp said in another email Friday the last confirmed shark bite in the ocean off Emerald Isle was Aug. 1, 2015, at approximately 11:15 a.m., according to town records. That incident occurred in the 12th Street area, and the patient, like Mr. Martynuik, did not require medical transport.
The manager also said those who go in the ocean should always take precautions, according to the International Shark Attack File in Florida. Those include:
- Stay in groups because sharks are more likely to attack a solitary person.
- Do not swim or paddle too far from shore, away from the assistance of lifeguards or friends.
- Do not enter the water if bleeding because a shark’s sense of smell is highly sensitive.
- Avoid wearing shiny jewelry because reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.
- Avoid being a visual attraction for sharks by using extra caution when waters are murky. Avoid the water if you have an uneven tan or bright colored clothing because sharks see contrast particularly well.
- Refrain from excessive splashing and don’t allow pets in the water because of their erratic movements.
- Remember that sightings of porpoises do not indicate the absence of sharks — both eat the same food.
- Exercise caution when occupying the area between the sandbars or near steep drop-offs where sharks hang out.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be around, and calmly evacuate the water if any sharks are seen.
- Do not harass a shark — even nurse sharks can bite.
- Avoid areas where people are fishing or using bait.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.