July 20,2011, 2011 -- A 6-year-old girl is in good condition after being attacked by a shark on a North Carolina beach Tuesday evening.
The girl's parents issued a statement saying their daughter was in good spirits and had commented, "I hate sharks. I like dolphins way better."
The child was swimming with her father in shallow water when she was bitten on the right leg and part of her foot, according to Kenny Ballance of the National Park Service for Cape Hatteras.
She was swimming on a boogie board in about a foot of water.
Hyde County EMS, the National Park Service and the Ocracoke Fire Department responded to a call at Ramp 72 on Ocracoke Island.
"The Ocracoke EMS and another park ranger, Shane Bryant, [were] on the scene right away," Ballance said. "The rescue squad began working on the little girl when ranger Bryant arrived. It was apparent that she was bitten below the knee in the foot area is the report."
Pitt Memorial Hospital flew a helicopter into Ocracoke Beach and flew the child to the hospital in Greenville.
"We were told she was in stable condition, then we called this morning to learn she's in critical condition," Ballance said.
Authorities said the last shark attack in the area, in Cape Hatteras, was a fatal one.
"The last shark attack in Cape Hatteras was in 2004 and that was in one of the villages north of us here," Ballance said. "The guy was bitten in a major artery and he bled to death before we were able to get to him."
Ocracoke Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The entire island is owned by the U.S. National Park Service, except for the village.
Shark Attacks in North Carolina
A 10-year-old girl was attacked by a shark earlier this month in North Topsail Beach in North Carolina.
Cassidy Cartwright of Erie, Pa., like the 6-year-old victim, was also playing on a body board and was wading knee-deep in only 3.5 feet of water.
"It pulled me down, and it hurt," Cartwright told ABC News affiliate WWAY. "I just thought it was somebody messing around, and I found out that it wasn't because it pulled me down again."
Cartwright's mother, Carolyn, who rescued her daughter with the help of a friend, described the scene as "bloody."
"Together we got her out, but when we pulled out of the water her leg was wide open and it was just ... a lot of blood," Carolyn told WWAY.
Biologist Andy Dehart told ABC News earlier this month that the murky water around the North Carolina shore is often to blame for unprovoked shark attacks in this area.
"The shark sees a flash of pale skin which has a high contrast in the dark, murky waters and often times that can confuse sharks a little bit." he said. "They bite down thinking they are biting a fish but it's a person."
The Florida Museum of Natural History keeps an international shark attack file, which was last updated in January. It shows 41 unprovoked shark attacks from 1935 to 2010.