It was a peaceful day at the beach on Sunday in North Carolina – until it turned into a scene out of a horror movie.
“Someone started yelling, ‘Everyone get out of the water, call 911!’ ” Steve Bouser tells PEOPLE after he saw the tragic accident at Oak Island. “It was a pandemonium.”
He added: “I felt like I was living through a real-life version of a scene from Jaws.”
Bouser says he watched someone half carrying “this poor 12-year-old girl out of the water and bleeding alarmingly. She was going into shock. The poor girl, when I saw her, she had this appalling wound.”
Bouser says that her entire arm had been completely bitten away.
Two teenagers, 13-year-old Kiersten Yow of Archdale, North Carolina, and 16-year-old Hunter Treschel, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, were attacked.
Both victims lost an arm, and Yow is in danger of losing her leg, according to WECT News.
Clark Shuman from Lexington, Kentucky, was at a nearby beach when the tragedies unfolded, and tells PEOPLE that just a day after the attacks, things were not quite back to normal.
“What people at the pier told me is that the sheriffs were driving the beach, they had a helicopter go down the coast and they were monitoring activity,” Shuman says. “They suggested that people stay out of the water that day.”
But what’s most important for Shuman is keeping his children safe. At one point, he saw a shark about six to ten feet away from his son in shallow waters.
“They are always out there with us, but we just kind of scan the waves,” he says. “We did see several [sharks] and we would pull [the kids] in, they were about 4-feet deep and we would pull them in and not let them go back out for a little while.”
He adds: “Since it was kind of an unusual event, we didn’t let them go in the water that day.”
Although no one knows if the teenagers were both attacked by separate sharks, one expert believes it was the same one.
“The chances of it being two different sharks is slim,” James Gelsleichter, associate professor of biology at the University of North Florida, tells PEOPLE. “It’s very unusual to have more than one shark attack in the same location on the same day. That has only been reported twice in the last forty to fifty years.”
“The best information we have so far is that it was a seven to eight foot shark,” Gelsleichter says. “I think it was probably a bull shark because of the size of the wounds.” He also adds that North Carolina has been experiencing warm temperatures earlier than expected, so it’s not surprising sharks have migrated towards the area.
City officials are ready to take action if they sense danger in the water. If they see aggressive behavior from any sharks near shore, according to the The Los Angeles Times, they are prepared to euthanize the animal.
“If they look like they’re posing a danger, we will authorize that action,” Oak Island Town Manager Tim Holloman told the newspaper.
The mayor says the beach will remain open.
“If you go to the beach, stay only in shallow water, still, and for the rest of the summer!” Mayor Betty Wallace writes on her Facebook site.
Gelsleichter doesn’t think that the shark attacks should keep people out of the water.
“When there is a car accident, do people stop driving? When there is a plane crash, does everyone stop flying?” he says. “When there is a shark attack, which is very rare, the sharks don’t stick around.”
One vacation goer feels just fine swimming in the water.
“We’re over here swimming today,” Jonathan Meek, from Charlotte, North Carolina, tells PEOPLE.
But he notices that most people are staying on the shore.
“There’s very few people in the water the past few days,” he says.
According to NBC, the teenagers injuries were described as life-threatening, but they’re both out of surgery and remain in stable condition at the hospital.
• Additional Reporting by JODI GUGLIELMI and ROSE MINUTAGLIO