New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County saw its first shark attack of 2019 over the weekend after a shark swam towards 19-year-old Mathew Cornwell and took a bite of his right calf.
Volusia County is known as “the shark bite capital of the world.” This alone should be enough to use caution when entering the waters.
Cornwell was wading in waist-deep water at around 7:30pm when the attack happened near New Smyrna Beach’s Flagler Avenue. The shark took a bite of his right calf before releasing him. He managed to get out of the water and was immediately treated for lacerations at the beach before driving himself to a nearby hospital to have his wound stitched.
Officials do not know what kind of shark it was that attacked Cornwell but are positive that it was in fact a shark, judging by the wound.
Sharks enter shallow waters at night to feed. “They bite it and they let go. You don’t want to be out there by yourself at night,” warned Drake Hickman, a surf instructor.
For the last three years, Volusia County has been at the top when it comes to the amount of shark bites and in 2016 they broke their own record with a total of 15 bites. Since 2009, there have been a total of 81 bites, 52 of those victims being surfers. Till date, there have been no fatal shark attacks reported at Volusia County.
No other details have been released at this time.
While every care must be taken when you enter the water, you need to understand that anytime you enter, you are entering the shark’s home. If he is hunting, he is not doing so for humans and most attacks are cases of mistaken identity.