Aug. 20, 2001 -- A spate of shark attacks off the coast of Florida over the weekend has beach-goers concerned.
On Sunday, sharks attacked three people off the Daytona Beach shores, a few miles from where three other men were attacked on Saturday.
The first attack on Sunday, on a 17-year-old female surfer, occurred at 10:30 a.m., according to Joe Wooden, Daytona Beach Patrol deputy chief. She was bitten on the bottom of her left foot.
At about 1:15 p.m., another 17-year-old female and a 32-year-old male were attacked while surfing about a quarter of a mile from where the first shark attack occurred, Wooden said. Both were bitten in the foot and ankle.
None of the shark attacks were serious but all the victims were taken to area hospitals, Wooden said.
Following Sunday's attacks, the beach at New Smyrna Inlet was closed, Wooden said.
The 17-year-old female, whose name was not released, was fortunate to have a friend nearby while she was surfing on Sunday.
"I got to her as soon as possible," said Scott Love, the girl's friend. "I threw my board on shore and then a guy who was fishing out here, he helped us get her out of the water."
She was taken to Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach for treatment.
The man, who identified himself as Bobby Kurrek, was treated and released.
On Saturday, three men were bitten by sharks at Ponce Inlet, between Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach. Jason Valentine, 20, underwent surgery for a hand injury and Jeff White, 20, and Dylan Feindt, 19, were treated for cuts on their feet in area hospitals.
Number of Attacks Actually Down
The shark attacks off the coast of Florida this summer have raised alarm bells in the surfing community. But experts point to the fact that Florida has 18,000 miles of shoreline as a possible explanation for the number of attacks.
The problem, according to George Burgess, director of The International Shark Attack File, was that the surfers and sharks were both attracted to the same area. "It's an inlet," he said. "Schools of fish tend to congregate around the inlet and sharks, of course, are going to be found around schooling fishes."
While shark attacks may appear to be mounting this summer, the numbers reflect that attacks are actually down. In 2000 there were 51 shark attacks in the United States. This year, 37 shark bites have been reported worldwide.
On Thursday, a shark bit the leg of an American man who was snorkeling with his wife in the Bahamas. Hospital officials said it was the second attack this month off the island.
On Aug. 4, a Wall Street banker, also vacationing with his wife in the Bahamas was attacked while swimming. Krishna Thompson, 36, was flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where his left leg was amputated just above the knee.
In July, a Mississippi boy's arm was bitten off by a shark at Pensacola Beach in northwest Florida. Doctors were able to reattach the arm, and the boy is recovering at home, although he remains in a light coma.