NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — An 11-year-old girl visiting North Myrtle Beach sprang to her feet and ran from the surf after a close encounter with a shark -- and her mother captured it all on video.
Nicole Oister sent WMBF News video of her daughter, Sara, boogie-boarding on Monday along the shoreline near 8th Avenue North. Suddenly, a black shark fin can be seen swimming right by her.
Oister’s 11-year-old daughter quickly stood up and ran back to the sand.
“I was taking video of her, and all of a sudden, she starts running out of water,” Nicole Oister said. “She said she saw a fin coming up out of the water towards her ... I looked back on the video to see if I had captured it, I did.”
Oister told WMBF that the close call didn’t stop her daughter from getting back in the water, though.
“She’s nervous for sure, but we know that we’re in ‘their home,’ so we’ll continue to swim with caution,” Oister told WMBF.
Myrtle Beach is a popular summer destination along the Atlantic Coast, and nearly 40 species of sharks call the local waters home.
”Even though I know we’re in their habitat ... I didn’t think I was going to be right next to a shark,” Sara said.
George Burgess, the director emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research, said researchers are not noticing anything unusual in terms of interactions between humans and sharks.
”But what we are seeing, of course, is an increased population of humans that are in the water every year, so the density of humans in the waters is higher than ever. We’re engaging in aquatic activities that put us at risk,” Burgess said.
Although reported shark sightings seem to be spiking, attacks are still rare. Only one shark attack was recorded on South Carolina beaches in 2021, researchers said.
Experts say swimmers can take precautions to prevent shark attacks. Always be aware of your surroundings at the beach, as shallow areas can serve as nurseries for sharks.
Also, try to swim in groups, avoid erratic movements, and leave shiny jewelry behind, as sharks can confuse it for fish scales, experts say.
As for Sara, she now has a story she can share with her friends.
”I’ll go back into the water because it’s not something that happens every day,” she said. “I just have to be more aware of my surroundings.”
WTVD contributed to this article.
(WATCH BELOW: Lifeguard attacked by shark on Hilton Head Island)
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