Teen sustains 40 puncture wounds after shark attack in North Carolina

Nick Arthur, 16, and his sister were standing in the water just 25 feet from the shore when a shark bit his leg.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Maura Hohman

A teen was enjoying a day at the beach near North Carolina's Cape Hatteras when he was attacked by a shark just 25 feet from the shore.

Last Thursday, Nick Arthur, 16, and his sister were standing in the water jumping over waves when Nick began screaming. He recalled to local outlet WGHP: "I tried lifting my leg up out of the water, and I saw, 'Oh, my God, it’s a 5-foot-long shark attached to my leg.'"

"My hands were bleeding," Nick continued. "There was just lots of blood and sand all mixed together. I couldn't really see what was going on. My fingers were all scratched up because I was trying to pry its mouth open."

Nick Arthur, 16, was attacked by a shark last Thursday.Tim Arthur

His sister swam to get help, and his father returned. They tried hitting the shark repeatedly, but it only let go when Nick's father kicked it in the nose. Nick sustained 40 puncture wounds to his leg but no serious damage.

Nick Arthur did not sustain any "serious damage" from the attack, NBC's Kerry Sanders reported.Tim Arthur

Nick's story comes just weeks after two fishermen saw a great white shark circling their boat near Ocean City, Maryland. And in May, Ben Kelly, a 26-year-old surfer from a beach community in Santa Cruz, California, died after a great white attacked him. Kelly was the first person to be killed by a shark in Northern California since 2004.

That said, NBC's Kerry Sanders said Monday that fewer shark attacks have been reported this year likely because of beach closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are usually around 80 shark attacks every year; so far, there have been 18 documented shark bites reported worldwide with at least seven in the U.S.

"The odds (of a shark attack), I always say, are really, really, really low," Joel Fodrie, an associate professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told TODAY.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about sharks during your next beach day. One precaution you should always take is to be within range of someone who can assist you when you're in the water, Sanders reported.

As Nick explained it, "No one thinks it's gonna happen to them until it happens to them."