from Virtual New York

    Sharks bite seven people

April 13, 2001

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla., April 13 (UPI) -- A 2-mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean off New Smyrna Beach, Fla., was closed to swimmers and surfers for about an hour Friday after three people were bitten by sharks.

They were among at least seven shark victims in the same area this week.

Swimmer Jonathan Bush, 16, told his friend he felt something bite his ankle. Andrew Barron, 12, of Longwood, was another Friday victim. Both were treated at Bert Fish Medical Center.

All of the injuries are considered minor, although 20-year-old surfer Richard Lloyd of Orange City remains hospitalized after surgery to repair the ligament in his left foot. He was bitten Thursday just after stepping off his surf board. He said the shark came at him "out of the blue, totally unexpected, not even a chance. I mean, like, I didn't see anything, no fish around, just, bam!"

The story was much the same for 12-year-old John Fazio, Jr., of Deltona, who was bitten on his leg and foot Thursday while boogie boarding. He said he felt something brush against his leg, but didn't realize he had been bitten until he saw the bite marks after he returned to shore.

Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Rob Horster said it is their standard operating procedure to close the water for 30 to 60 minutes any time sharks are seen or someone is bitten. This precaution was also taken on Wednesday and Thursday after bites were reported. Patrol officers suspect the high number of bait fish swimming close to shore are attracting the hungry sharks.

Twelve people were bitten by sharks in Volusia County in 2000, more than anywhere else in Florida. None of the injuries were life threatening. A St. Petersburg, Fla., area man was killed by a shark last year immediately after he jumped into the water from his dock. -- Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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