A juvenile sandbar shark is the suspected culprit of a bite suffered by a Delaware teen while swimming in a state park Monday, officials said.
Collin O’Mara, secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said officials worked with biologists from the University of Delaware to make the determination. O’Mara called the shark bite “a rare and isolated incident.”
The 16-year-old told authorities that he was standing in about five feet of water at Cape Henlopen State Park when, around 5 p.m., he felt something grab his left arm. The teen used his right arm to flail at the predator until it released its bite and swam away, officials said.
Lifeguards provided the teen with preliminary medical attention and the Lewes Fire Department rushed him by ambulance to Beebe Medical Center, where he was treated for gashes to his forearm.
The opening of the park’s main swimming area was delayed until 1 p.m. Tuesday as environmental crews surveyed the water by land and helicopter to check for signs of additional sharks or other unusual activity, O’Mara told reporters at a news briefing.
“We saw a lot of stuff,” he said. “We saw dolphins, we saw cownose rays, we saw a sturgeon, and we saw menhaden, so the visibility was pretty good, but we didn’t see any sharks.”