“Warning Dangerous Marine Life” Signs Go Up In New Smyrna Beach, FL

As reported by Holly Bristow for Orlando Fox.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Signs are posted up and down the north part of New Smyrna Beach saying “Warning dangerous marine life,” referring to sharks. Some call it the shark bite capital of the world. This weekend lifeguard Captain Scott Petersohn said it lived up to its reputation.

“Out of the blue, we had three in two days. One day, we had two within ten or fifteen minutes of each other,” said Petersohn.

A shark attacked the first surfer at 10:16 a.m. Saturday. The second at 10:27. Then on Sunday, a third surfer got bitten at 9:35 a.m. It all happened on this same little stretch.

“This area is notorious for that activity. This particular area is one of the best surf areas on the east coast of Florida no matter what, if there are waves there are people there,” said Petersohn.

So far this year, Volusia County has had 5 shark attacks. Last year there were 24 total. According to the county records, April, August and September were the worst months in 2008. Ninety percent of those attacks are by the jetties just south of Ponce Inlet, where the three surfers were attacked last weekend.

Petersohn said the sharks attacking are black tip and spinner sharks around 3 feet in length. The leave their victims behind with cut up hands or feet that typically require at least a dozen stitches.

“People weigh out the risk and take it upon themselves. It’s one of those things that goes with the territory,” said Petersohn.

The second surfer bitten on Saturday tells FOX 35 that he was riding his last wave of the morning in to shore. Forty-nine year old Bryan Heath said the wave weakened half way to the beach, so he jumped off his board.

Heath told us it was obvious that his feet hit something other than the ground. Before he knew it, he felt something move, and his ankle was in excruciating pain. He never saw the shark, but it severed an artery, a tendon in his ankle and a nerve.

For the full story head to Orlando Fox.