Boy becomes fourth person to be attacked by shark at popular beach

A North Carolina boy had a close encounter with a shark at South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island last week, according to local reports. The young man suffered a bite, but is alive to tell the tale.

While visiting the beach at the Sea Pines Beach Club, 13-year-old Linton Suttle was swimming last Thursday with his little sister, when he felt an abrupt pain in his foot.

“I thought maybe it was a seashell,” Linton told The Island Packet. “But as I turned around to look, I saw a shadow swim away, and I knew I had just got bit by a shark.”

Linton says his next thought was of protecting others. “I wanted to get my sister out of the water,” he said of his next move.

While the boy escaped with only minor injuries, his mother said it might have been worse.

“Half of an inch to the left and he might have lost a toe,” Linton’s mother, Kristy Suttle, told the Packet. “I am grateful it didn’t do more damage.”

Linton was asked to use crutches, and has been told to stay out of the ocean, according to the report.

After attending to his injuries, Linton’s family set about confirming his claim: that he has sustained a shark bite. Initially unconvinced that the marks on his foot were from a shark, Kristy Suttle said she thought a tentacle created them.

Using photos of comparable bites, Linton’s parents exchanged information with shark researchers. George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, confirmed that the boy had been bitten by a shark.

According to the Packet, Linton is now the fourth shark bite victim on the island this summer. None of the bites were life-threatening, reportedly, indicating they came from small sharks.

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