Hospitalized victim stung by sting ray, not shark

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A teen is out of the hospital Tuesday following an encounter with a sting ray.

16-year-old Matthew Breen was swimming near 6th Avenue North when he felt a sharp pain in his foot. He told WMBF News he saw a lot of blood in the water and realized it was serious, so he got out of the water.

"I was on the beach, could not move it at all. just gushing. Tons of amounts of blood. My foot started going numb and I couldn't do anything about it," Breen said.

Breen said he thought he was bitten by a shark. It was at the hospital doctors told him he was actually stung by a sting ray, not bitten by a shark.

Breen said everyone around him, including EMS on scene believed the injury was most likely caused by a shark because there have been an increased number of alleged shark bites in the area in the past two weeks.

Ripley Aquarium's Marine Biologist Shannon Hughes said Breen was most likely stung by the sting ray because he stepped on it. Hughes said the best way to avoid getting stung by this animal is to shuffle your feet whenever walking in the ocean.

Breen is in town traveling with his band. He said the incident with the sting ray was life-changing.

"I am now afraid to go in the ocean. I do not want to go in the ocean anymore. Without a doubt. So that kinda actually changed my life," Breen said.

Doctors at the hospital told the teen he should expect to make a full recovery.

Myrtle Beach Lifeguard Julian Dallmeier said although there has been an unusual number of shark bites in the area lately, causing people to panic, it is still a rare occurrence.

"The threat is really not as big as everyone thinks it is. There's a huge misconception you know, 'the sharks are trying to bite us' and stuff like that but you know it is their water that we're swimming in and it's bound to happen every once in awhile," Dallmeier said.

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