Greg Phillips describes the near-miss a kid had with the shark, which was about 15 feet from the shore

By FT Norton Nicole Weisensee Egan
June 17, 2015 01:45 PM

Greg Phillips was beachcombing with his family in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, Monday night when he had a terrifying encounter on the same beach where a girl was bitten by a shark four days prior.

“There was a gentleman fishing and his son was out kinda surfing on a boogie board and all of a sudden he calmly says to his son, ‘You need to get in quickly,’ ” Phillips, a teacher from Ohio, tells PEOPLE.

He was “trying to use that parent voice of not wanting to alarm your child,” he says.

“The kid gets in and when he got close enough he said, ‘What do you need, Dad?’ and the dad said, ‘Run!’ and the kid came up on the beach,” Phillips says.

“Then the dad said, ‘There’s a shark out there and I can see the two fins.’ ”

Phillips quickly whipped out his cell phone and started taking video of the shark, which the fisherman thought was about eight-feet long with fins about three to four feet apart.

“When I shot the video it was maybe 15 to 20 feet in front of me in about two to three feet of water, so it was right where the waves are breaking,” he says.

“It swam around for about five minutes off and on where you could see it. It would go out and then it would come in,” Phillips tells PEOPLE. “I was really surprised that something that large was coming in that close to shore.”

The predator drew a small crowd.

“Everybody kind of oohed and aahed,” he says. “And then we walked a little bit further after the shark disappeared and we couldn t find it again.”

Phillips posted the video on his Facebook page that night.

“I woke up the next morning and thank goodness I had my ringer turned off because my phone was just blowing up,” he says. “I’ve got everybody back home screeching about, ‘Oh my God! Come home!’ ”

But Phillips has no plans to disrupt his vacation at the beach – or stay out of the water. In fact, his 8-year-old son, Noah, found a baby shark attached to a hook and line that had been cut. “It had a little life in it when he found it,” Phillips says.

Greg Phillips' son, Noah, holding a baby shark
Courtesy Greg Phillips

“We went out waist deep or something with our kids in the waves, but my wife and I were very, very careful,” he says.

The mood is definitely different than usual at the beach, he adds.

“You can tell that everyone’s a little on edge,” he says. “People who come here on vacation are definitely all talking about it.”

“And you can tell at the beach people are really, really vigilant [about] trying to keep their eye on everything,” he says. “You see the occasional helicopter fly by and you have beach patrols.”

Phillips says he and his wife, whose children are 6 and 8 years old, feel for the parents of the two kids who were attacked by sharks in Oak Island, North Carolina, about 30 miles away by land and 16 miles by sea, on Sunday and the girl attacked in Ocean Isle Beach on Thursday.

“Obviously, all three are going to survive, but you lose your innocence a little bit,” he says. “The beach is never the same, vacation is never the same, nothing is ever the same once you’ve gone through that.”

“There’s no more, ‘Hey, let’s just run down to the beach,’ ” he says. “They may never want to see a beach again, and I wouldn t blame them. I can’t imagine.”

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