Shark bites 14-year-old boy's leg in attack at North Carolina beach

A 14-year-old boy from West Virginia was bitten by a shark as he was swimming near a beach in North Carolina, authorities said Tuesday.

The boy was in the water around 12:30 p.m. Sunday when a shark attacked and bit him, North Topsail Beach Police Chief William K. Younginer told USA TODAY. Bystanders sprang into action as the incident unfolded, getting the boy out of the water and administering first aid by using towels and applying pressure to stop the bleeding, Younginer said.

Fortunately for the victim, officers and EMS were already at the beach on another call and were able to quickly reach him.

"Police officers applied a tourniquet and EMS stabilized the patient," Younginer said, adding that he was immediately transported to the nearest trauma center, where they were able to "repair the leg."

Take a close look at the latest data: How common are shark attacks in the US?

People hang out on the beach in the Ocean City community of North Topsail Beach, N.C., Saturday, May 21, 2022.
People hang out on the beach in the Ocean City community of North Topsail Beach, N.C., Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Younginer said the boy was recovering well and should be released soon. He thanked and appreciated bystanders for taking immediate action and helping the boy.

"There were no reports as to seeing the shark and this is an unusual occurrence for this area," Younginer said.

Located on the Atlantic Ocean, North Topsail Beach is about 40 miles from Wilmington.

Five ways to reduce your risk of an attack

Shark attacks are more common in the summer season as people head towards the oceans and open water to cool off. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while swimming:

  • Don't go into the water alone. Have a swimming buddy.

  • Don't swim at dawn or at dusk. The light is low, which can increase your risk of a shark mistaking you for other prey.

  • Don't enter waters where there is fishing activity.

  • Don't wear shiny jewelry. It can catch the sunlight and glint, much like fish that sharks prey upon.

  • Try to avoid splashing. It generates a sound similar to that of struggling fish, which can attract sharks.

Contributing: Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @saman_shafiq7.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shark attacks, bites 14-year-old's leg at North Topsail Beach, NC