2 swimmers bitten by sharks in separate incidents off same Florida beach

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Two swimmers are recovering from minor injuries after they were bitten by sharks in separate incidents in Volusia County, Florida. 

The attacks both took place on Ponce Inlet, a stretch of beach on a barrier island south of Daytona Beach. 

In the first incident, a 37-year-old woman from Apopka, Florida, was bitten on her right foot, according to a news release from Volusia County Beach Safety. The woman did not see the shark that bit her, but was in waist-deep water. She was transported to a nearby hospital by Volusia County emergency services. Her injury was non-life-threatening, officials said. 

The other person bitten was a 30-year-old man surfing near the Ponce Inlet Jetty. He was bitten on the left hand. Officials said the man refused care and drove himself to a hospital for treatment. His injury is also non-life-threatening. 

Officials said they did not have any further information about the beachgoers’ conditions because their injuries were non-life-threatening. Captain A.J. Miller, the logistics captain for Volusia County Beach Safety, said that there will not be an attempt to hunt and capture the sharks, and said that bites in the area are “normally accidental in nature.” 

“The shark is feeding on baitfish and grab a person (by) mistake, bite, release, and swim away,” Miller said. “This is why we call them shark bites and not shark attacks.” 

In most cases when sharks bite humans, it’s often a case of mistaken identity. Sharks may mistake people, especially those on surfboards, for animals like seals and sea lions. Shark bites of any kind are generally uncommon, with only 137 such incidents reported in 2021. 

“If you put that into perspective as to how many people are in the water, how many sharks are in the water … you really realize how unlikely it is that you’re going to get bitten by a shark,” Yannis Papastamatiou, a professor at Florida International University who studies shark behavior, told CBS News in 2021. “… It’s just a numbers game. And the fact is, the relative probability is extremely low.” 

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