CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In just the last several days, there have been two shark bites at Myrtle Beach. Police said they happened less than two hours apart.
From Long Island, New York, to both coasts of Florida, shark sightings this summer have forced some beaches to temporarily close.
Is this a sign of a trend, and how common are these incidents?
Globally, have there been more shark attacks this year?
No, globally there haven't been more shark attacks this year.
WHAT WE FOUND
Data from the Shark Attack File painted a pretty steady story of shark bites over the past several years.
There have been 61 attacks so far in 2022. Compare that to 73 around the world in 2021, and the five-year average of 72 attacks each year.
"So when we look at it globally, it's really quite a standard year," Naylor said.
But Naylor recognized when shark attacks occur on a familiar beach or near someone's community, it's more personal.
"So when any unfortunate event happens to you, you feel singled out, and you feel as if you've been particularly unlucky, and all the statistics that tell you that this is a very low probability event don't seem to be applying to you," Naylor said.
The Shark Research Institute said historically, unprovoked shark attacks are random and happen in different places. Naylor said they're usually an accident.
"We know that because 60% of shark bites happen when the visibility is poor because then the sharks are more likely to make a mistake," Naylor said. "They're in subtropical areas where there are a lot of sharks and sharks would have ample opportunity to bite people. But they don't. The fact that there are so few actually should be very reassuring."
Furthermore, Naylor said you're more likely to get struck by lightning than bitten by a shark.
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