Possible shark bite reported at beach near Pawleys Island

Published: Apr. 20, 2017 at 1:23 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2017 at 6:42 PM EDT
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The sign outside the Debordieu Colony near Pawleys Island. (Source: Erin Edwards)
The sign outside the Debordieu Colony near Pawleys Island. (Source: Erin Edwards)

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A man was possibly bitten on the foot by a shark at DeBordieu Beach near Pawleys Island, officials confirmed.

Midway Fire Rescue Chief Doug Eggiman said they responded to a report of a possible animal bite at about 8:50 a.m., but it is "difficult to confirm if it was a shark."

One man was transported to a nearby hospital, Eggiman said. The man, who is a DeBordieu resident, was in "good spirits" when he was being transported, said the general manager of the community.

The man did not report physically seeing the shark, but felt something touch his body, Eggiman added. The four-inch laceration and puncture wounds on the man's left foot were consistent with what could be a shark bite.

Eggiman said the man was far enough into the water that his feet couldn't touch the ground, so he estimated the man was about six feet deep. He was going for his morning swim, and moving parallel to shore when he felt the bite. He told law enforcement he kicked his foot free and swam to shore.

A marine science professor at Coastal Carolina University said, given the time of year and the nature of the bite, he believes this was a shark.

"The description made me think it wasn't an oyster shell; it was something alive that grabbed the person," the professor said. "That's the method of a black tip shark. They bite and frequently just release immediately."

The Pawleys Island town administrator, Ryan Fabbri, and Jason Lesley, the public information officer for the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, confirmed the possible shark bite happened at the beach in Georgetown County.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office Beach Patrol also responded.

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