Three More Shark Attacks in Florida

Three more people were bitten by sharks off the Daytona Beach shores today.

The first attack 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. two more females, 17 and 32 years old, 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.

Three men were bitten off the same shores yesterday. After today's attacks the beach at New Smyrna Inlet was closed, Wooden said.

None of the shark attacks were serious but all the victims were taken to area hospitals, Wooden said.

"We don't know exactly what kind of sharks they are," Wooden said. "But typically we get black tip or spinner sharks."

Black tips and spinner sharks are usually about 4 to 6 feet in length, Wooden said. But some surfers who spotted sharks in the waters Saturday said they saw black tip sharks that were up to 7 feet long.

The Conference of the National Scholastic Surf Association competition brought several surfers to the area. The competition ended today at about 1 p.m.. Three competitors were bitten by sharks over the last two days. The area is known for its terrific surf but it's also home to a lot of small fish, which attract the sharks who feed off the fish.

A beach patrol team went out into the waters searching for sharks but didn't spot any when they went to the areas where the attacks occurred, Wooden said.

On Thursday, scores of sharks were spotted swimming near Sarasota, Florida. Two days earlier, a similar school was spotted in shallow waters north of Tampa.

While the attacks seem to be mounting this summer. The numbers reflect that shark attacks are actually down. In 2000 there were 51 shark attacks in the U.S. But this year there has only been 19 attacks, 26 of them in Florida.

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.