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Multiple people injured after shark attacks in Texas and Florida on Fourth of July

While news of shark attacks can be jarring for beachgoers, researchers say humans are still far more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bitten by a shark.
Summer beachgoers sometimes have the fear of rare shark encounters on their minds
Posted at 12:28 PM, Jul 05, 2024

Several people were injured during the Fourth of July holiday in multiple shark attacks reported in Texas and Florida.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, at least four people were taken to the hospital Thursday with bite wounds — including one that was severe — after being attacked while swimming in the waters off Texas' South Padre Island. Citing statements from officials — the outlet said the bites stemmed from two separate incidents, but a single shark is believed to be responsible.

Related story: Shark attacks are on the rise worldwide, scientists researching why

Photos shared on social media by the U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector shows first responders treating one of the bite victims, whose leg is covered in blood and appears to be missing a large chunk of their calf. Officials said two Border Patrol agents "pulled the shark attack victim from the water" before rendering "lifesaving aid."

"Shark encounters of this nature are not a common occurrence in Texas," The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a statement. "When bites from sharks do occur, they are usually a case of mistaken identity by sharks looking for food."

Elsewhere, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, a 21-year-old tourist was reportedly bitten by a shark while playing football in knee-deep waters. One witness told Orlando TV station WESH that the man was transported to a local hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries to his ankle and foot.

From the archives: With all the recent shark activity, should you stay out of the water?

While shark attacks like these can be jarring for beachgoers, they are still considered very rare. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says humans are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning in the state than bitten by a shark, and it notes that experts believe an increase in shark bites in recent years is more connected to a rise in human visitors than it is shark activity.