Man Bitten by Shark While Swimming at Florida Beach

A man was bitten by a shark in the waters off Huguenot Park in Jacksonville, Florida, on Tuesday afternoon, according to reports.

The attack occurred at around 5 p.m. local time while the man was swimming.

He suffered non-life threatening injuries to his forearm that were subsequently treated by medical staff at UF Health Shands Hospital, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said.

He is expected to make a full recovery, News4Jax reported.

This isn't the first shark attack to occur in the waters of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia in recent months. According to News4Jax, five have occurred this year in the area.

On July 12, a 16-year-old girl was bitten by a shark while boogie boarding in the waters outside her hotel—the Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Nassau County—The Florida Times-Union.

The unidentified girl, who was on vacation from South Florida, suffered injuries to her heel and ankle.

Then in late July, 23-year-old professional surfer Frank O'Rourke was bitten on the arm by a shark off a beach in Jacksonville.

"Shark comes out of the water and grabs onto my arm, right by my elbow. Kinda tugs a little bit and thrashes," O'Rourke told ABC News. "I guess it tasted me and was like, 'Nope.'"

O'Rourke said he was very lucky to still have an arm.

"You can see the jawline, like where the jawline is of the shark ... There's still blood on my surfboard," he told the Times-Union.

Fortunately, the surfer's injuries were not serious and he opted to hang out at a beachside bar rather than go to hospital.

RJ Berger, a friend of O'Rourke's who witnessed the incident, told News4Jax: "He immediately went to a bar because he was like, 'I got bit by a shark,' and people were like, 'I'll buy you drinks!' So he went and hung out at the pier."

Florida is the U.S. state where most shark attacks occur. Indeed, the state has the highest incidence of attacks in the world—although it should be noted that the number of bites dropped there last year in comparison to 2017.

As of September 2019, there have been 41 confirmed shark bites in U.S. waters this year, with 22 of those occurring in the Sunshine State, according to the website Tracking Sharks.

The majority of shark attacks are considered to be "unprovoked." These usually involve the animals using their mouths in an exploratory manner to investigate objects that could potentially be food.

A minority of incidents are defined as "provoked," meaning a human may have encouraged the attack in some way, through the use of fishing equipment or touching the animals, for example.

Despite the fearsome reputation of sharks, it is important to remember that attacks are actually very rare—and fatal incidents even rarer. Only one shark bite in the U.S. this year led to the death of the individual involved. Most cases involve the sharks taking a single, non-fatal bite before swimming away.

In fact, you are more likely to be killed by lightning than being bitten by a shark, according to the International Shark Attack File.

Nevertheless, the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History offers the following tips to minimize the risk of shark attacks while swimming in waters where the animals may be present.

  • Swim with a buddy
  • Stay close to shore
  • Don't swim at dawn or dusk
  • Don't swim around schools of fish or where people are fishing
  • Avoid wearing jewelry
  • Avoid excess splashing
Little Talbot Island State Park
Stock photo: View from Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville Florida, close to Huguenot Park where the shark attack occurred. iStock

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