GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A 15-year-old boy was apparently bitten by a shark while surfing in Georgetown County near Murrells Inlet Thursday, authorities and witnesses at the scene confirmed.
The boy has bite marks that appear to be from a small shark on his leg, and another on his hand from when he tried to get the shark off his leg, said Capt. Jerry Howerton with Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire Rescue.
The teen was in chest-deep water around the 1600 block of S. Waccamaw Drive Thursday, and was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
"I was up in my beach house and I heard 'help' and the word 'shark' I looked and there was a boy with his hand up in the air and his friends scooped him up and carried him to the sand," said Catherine Medlin as she described the scene.
As Catherine Medlin watched the incident unfold, she called 911 from her balcony. At the same time, Ashley Hedtke ran into the waves to help pull the teenager out of the water
"He yelled 'I got bit by a shark' to the other surfer but I thought he was exaggerating or joking around," said Ashley Hedtke. Hedtke, just like Medlin, is visiting the area on vacation.
She said the boys were out surfing in about waist deep water when he seemed to panic.
"We had him lay down and take deep breaths, we were wrapping towels around the wounds. I said 'you've got ten fingers, you've got ten toes' but there was a lot of blood so it was scary for a teenage boy," described Hedtke.
Meanwhile, a little further down the beach, a family full of firefighters along with a doctor and nurse rushed to the scene to help.
"He had lacerations on his hand and leg. He said he reached down to stop the shark and it bit his hand," said Mark Wagner, part of the firefighter family.
They snapped pictures as emergency responders took over, tending to the teen.
"He was in some distress," commented Tim Allen. Wagner added, "yeah, he was definitely in pain."
Those medics got there quickly through Medlin's home.
"They ran through our house, right out here. All the crowds were super helpful, grabbing towels and calming him down. It was fast, they got him out of here really quick," said Medlin.
The teenager is expected to be okay.
"I didn't want to look at the wound at first in case it was really bad. But we were changing the dressing at one point and he was going to need stitches," shared Hedtke.
In fact, all of those witnesses said the teen seemed to be in good spirits as emergency crews carried him off to the ambulance. They said he was even joking about needing his phone so he could tell everyone his shark story.