Shark attacks girl in Maryland but authorities insist waters are safe

Shark attacks girl in Maryland but authorities insist waters are safe
Experts belive a small sandbar shark is responsible

Despite a shark bite leaving a 12-year-old with 20 deep cuts requiring 42 stitches, authorities say the waters off Maryland’s Ocean City remain safe for swimming.

Jordan Prushinski was on vacation with her family when she felt something brush by her leg in the knee-deep water. She limped out of the water with the bite mark across her calf.

“I didn’t really realize what was going on until I was on the beach and I was bleeding everywhere,” she told local broadcaster WTOP.

Her mother, Melissa Prushinski, said other beachgoers, including an EMT and a nurse, helped give Jordan first aid.

With the help of a lifeguard, they cleaned and bandaged the wound, and Jordan’s family took her to Atlantic General Hospital.

Ocean City Beach Patrol said in a statement to Fox Baltimore on Wednesday they confirmed the injuries were likely from a shark.

“Experts that we have been in touch with are in agreement that wound pattern is consistent with a bite from a small sandbar shark,” the statement said.

The beach patrol’s captain Butch Arbin said previously he hadn’t seen an unprovoked attack in his 49 years at the beach, and the bite pattern indicated it “absolutely was not an attack”.

“We don’t know what it was,” he told CBS Baltimore.

Jay Bradly, the curator of the Blue Wonders exhibits at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, told the outlet it was likely a case of mistaken identity, and that it was not unsafe to swim in the water with sharks.

“It’s more likely in the summertime than it is other parts of the year because there are more people going to the beach, more people in the water; it increases the potential that someone could interact with a shark but it’s still relatively uncommon here in Maryland,” Mr Bradly said.

“Generally, it is thought to be mistaken identity, and a majority of the attacks are on the extremities either hands or feet. Typically, it’s one bite and the shark moves on,” he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.