Reports that a 13-year-old boy (from Odessa) was bitten by a shark in Galveston this morning. According to Galveston Beach Patrol, the boy and his brother were walking in the water near 37th Street at about 10am when they waded into a school of fish. As the boys turned back toward shore, the 13-year-old was bitten on the foot.
The boys told authorities the shark was about four to five feet long, but they were unable to identify the type of shark. The injured boy was taken to a hospital by EMS, but is expected to recover.
The beach remains open, but officials advise visitors not to swim in or near schools of fish. They also recommend shuffling your feet in the water, and anyone with an open wound is advised not to swim.
Gregory Slaughter, 13, and his brother were swimming when they were surrounded by a school of fish, according to Galveston Beach Patrol officials. The two boys were frightened and began swimming to shore when a shark bit the 13-year-old on the lower leg and hand.
Officials said this is the first shark bite in Texas in more than a year.
“Here in our shallow waters, it’s very uncommon,” said Lt. Kara Harrison of Galveston Island Beach Patrol.
Family members initially wrapped the boy’s foot and hand in towels to stop the bleeding while calling for paramedics.
Harrison said while incidents involving sharks are scary, it’s important to remember this is a bite, not an attack. Officials believe it was a case of mistaken identity, and that the shark intended to bite the fish and got the human instead.
The boy’s mother, Misty Lamb, told KHOU-TV that she expects her son to make a full recovery. Slaughter was transported to the University of Texas Medical Branch and had two surgeries following the incident.
“Just don’t swim in schools of fish, and if you have any open wounds or cuts that are obviously bleeding, don’t get in the water and go swimming,” Harrison said.