BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – A Boca Raton teenager is recovering after being bitten by a shark over the weekend during a family outing on New Smyrna Beach.
Alexandra Masterson’s father, Taun, says his daughter is doing well.
“Fortunately it wasn’t deep into the muscle and it could have been a lot worse,” he told CBS 4 News.
Masterson says his daughter is a strong swimmer and the family was wrapping up a day of surfing when the shark — possibly a spinner shark — bit her.
“(I) told her it might be a barracuda or something smaller –a tarpon or something like that,” he said. “But I actually was trying to keep her calm since I knew it was a shark bite from the size and shape of it.”
Masterson is the 6th person to be bitten by a shark in Volusia County this year.
Shark experts say the number of sharks attacks has gone down in the past 25 years but the number of bites has gone up primarily because of how many people are entering the water.
“There are less sharks out there than there were 25 or 30 years ago as a result of overfishing,” said George Burgess, Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research. “But we’re just going out in such large numbers that we’re influencing the phenomenon ourselves.”
In South Florida over the past six months, CBS 4 News has reported on at least three shark bites — one each in Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach. All of those bitten survived.
For Alexandra Masterson, she is focused on recovering, doing well in school and her hobbies like soccer and photography.
“She doesn’t want to be famous for being bitten by a shark,” her father said. “She’d like to be famous for things she does herself, her achievements.”
Burgess said that even though shark bites are rare there are things you can do to minimize the likelihood of a run-in with a shark. For instance, he said you should swim with at least one person and stay out of the water between dusk and dawn when sharks are known to be active.
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