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Alert Issued in West Coast Florida Area
Wednesday August 15 8:17 AM ET
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (Reuters) - A shark alert was issued by local authorities in Florida's Pasco County after hundreds of sharks were seen swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near a popular beach on state's west coast.
Swimmers and boaters were warned Tuesday by the Sheriff's Office to avoid the area off the coast of New Port Richey, a few miles northwest of Tampa.
Marine experts said the sharks were in the area to feed off schools of fish.
Video taken by local television stations showed the sharks swimming near the shore as small boats passed over or near them. No attacks were reported. Shark attacks are rare, but a horrific attack last month on an eight-year-old boy off the Florida coast near Pensacola has put sharks on the minds of many beach-goers. In that incident, about 300 miles north of Pasco County, Jessie Arbogast had an arm torn off by a bull shark as he played in knee-deep water. The arm was surgically reattached and the child was released from the hospital last weekend, still in a light coma.
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