The 8-year-old boy's shark bite were superficial and not considered serious, according to the Surf City Police Department

By Caitlin Keating
June 24, 2015 05:45 PM
Courtesy: FT Norton

An 8-year-old boy was attacked by a shark on Wednesday in Surf City, North Carolina.

He suffered minor leg and foot injuries from what appeared to be a small bite and was taken to the hospital by his parents, the Surf City Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE.

Not even two weeks ago, 12-year-old Kiersten Yow and 16-year-old Hunter Treschl were attacked by sharks in Oak Island, North Carolina, within 90 minutes of each other.

The Oak Island incident happened about 60 miles away from today’s attack.

Yow, who lost her arm below her elbow, is improving with each day at the hospital. Treschl has since been released from the hospital after he lost his arm below the shoulder.

Shark expert Larry Cahoon told PEOPLE that despite the recent shark attacks, beachgoers shouldn’t avoid the ocean.

“You have a higher chance of getting into a car accident driving to the beach than you do getting attacked by a shark when you get there,” Cahoon, professor of biology and marine biology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, says. “The fact is that sharks have millions of contact hours with humans on beaches every year, yet attacks are really rare. Just be smart.”

“Sharks are frightened of us,” he adds. “They normally will only attack us if they mistake us for their typical prey, like skate and rays.”

But when they do attack, just swim back to shore as fast as you can, he advises.

“People say to swim slowly back to shore, but what is that going to do? Swim to shore as fast as you can a shark that means to eat you will keep coming. You need to call for help. People who survive all but the least damaging shark attacks got immediate help from others,” he says. “Basically, don’t swim alone in shark waters.”

And when it comes to fending off a shark, Cahoon says punching it in the nose, gills or eyes won’t do much good.

“A 10-foot bull shark will weigh close to 500 pounds and is essentially all muscle. What chance would anyone have?” says Cahoon. “You won’t be thinking rationally even if you have the opportunity to punch it, so just focus on getting back to land.”

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