HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - A possible shark attack over the weekend has some people rethinking their trip to the beach.
A 10-year-old boy was bitten by something while swimming in Hilton Head Island. Officials can't confirm it was a shark, but as we found out, it's the only explanation for this type of attack.
It's signs like these that lifeguards encourage people to read because around this time of year, there will be more and more ocean animals near shore. Mike Wagner from Hilton Head Beach Services says the boy was in about waist deep water when he was possibly bitten by a shark. When things like this happen or a shark is spotted, they clear the water.
"Yesterday, we cleared it for a little while longer for a little wider area just to be on the safe side just to get us to the end of the day," Wagner said.
Ocean animals that can cause injuries are known to be prominent near shore around this time of year because it's so warm.
"Sometimes in the spring, we have stingrays in the water, so we want you to be aware of that," said Jerry Staub, Beach Services.
Wagner tells us they labeled the 10-year-old's bite mark as highly likely to be a shark bite because of the type of laceration. He says a jellyfish normally leaves a rash. A stingray leaves a puncture.
"Something that may be a shark or other fish biting, you may see something like a half moon type of shape on the lacerations," Wagner said.
Beach Services says the closer people swim to dusk where the water gets deeper, the more likely you are to have an altercation with a shark.
"Wearing any kind of shiny jewelry or shiny material on a bathing suit can kind of give the similarity of a small fish that may make a shark think it's bait," Wagner said.
Again, we want to give you a tip. If you see ospreys or pelicans swirling around close to shore, it's because they see a school of fish to eat, which means those sharks are possibly close to shore looking for fish as well.