Two Shark Attacks in Shallow Florida Water


Two men on a Florida beach have suffered shark attacks in water as shallow as three feet.

The men were treated for wounds to their lower legs Saturday at New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Fla. Both received on scene treatment and drove themselves to a nearby hospital for a follow-up.

Marco Cardiel, 25, went to the beach for a day of fun with friends and was in the water for five minutes before he decided to submerge himself under the surf to cool off.

"I was sitting on the ocean floor for about 15 seconds and felt some pressure and then the shark latched on to my leg," Cardiel told ABC News. Cardiel said the small shark, about three to four feet in length, thrashed back and forth across the surface. He was finally able to yank his leg from the shark and was left with a small souvenir - a shark tooth fragment in his lower right leg.

Cardiel is recovering at home.

The New Smyrna Beach Patrol had a busy Saturday as another victim was also attacked around the same time as Cardiel. The second victim was a male surfer who fell off his surfboard and stepped on the shark in shallow waters. It is not known whether it was the same shark that preyed on both victims.

A purple flag had been raised over the weekend to indicate a hazard from dangerous marine life. In this case, the purple flag served as a warning that there was a higher than average amount of baitfish in the water. An abundance of baitfish is often an indication sharks may be nearby ready to feed.

"If you want to reduce your chances of being attacked by a shark, don't go in the water when the flag goes up," George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told ABC News.

Off the shore at New Smyrna Beach, Burgess explained there is a "highway of water where animals, especially fish, ride in and out with the tides." Predators, such as sharks and barracudas, sit outside the mouth of the inlet and have their dinners delivered to them as the tide moves, he said.

Surfers are also drawn to the area because of the good surf in the area developed by the eroded underwater sand bars. When surfers are thrown into the mix, it is their "provocative activity" such as the kicking and the inevitable wipeout, that attracts the sharks.

As of Jan. 1, there have been six shark attack incidents in Volusia County and seven other incidents throughout Florida. There have been 13 additional attacks in the United States and another 13 internationally.