A shark bite has been reported in Palm Beach, Florida.
Carlos Iribam was surfing Lantana Municipal Beach October 18 around 2:30 p.m. “I was surfing and I got stung by a jelly fish. Usually jelly fish don’t bother me, but this one really got me,” he said.
He decided to catch one more wave and rode in toward the rocky shore.
“I just jumped off the board and onto my butt, because on our beach there are a lot of shoreline rocks.” As he jumped down into 3 to 4 feet of water, he landed in a sitting position on his board and then he saw mullet jumping around him.
“I thought, oh no, mullet! And the next thing you know, I just got bit on my foot. [It] felt like, like a crushing pain and a big splash,” he said.
He was able to hit the brown shark which he believes was a 4- to 5-foot long spinner shark. As an experienced spearfisherman, he is used to sharks and didn’t want to panic others in the water once he made it to the beach.
“I got on shore and waved at my lifeguard buddy. He didn’t know what was going on, then he came down and saw me bleeding, and I told him I just got bit.”
With the help of his friend, Iribam was able to hobble to the parking lot, where they wrapped his wound.
Iribam is also a lifeguard and full-time firefighter as well as a boat captain when he’s not surfing.
He was taken to the hospital where doctors cleaned the half-moon shaped puncture wounds. The shark had only gouged his right heel, and doctors decided against stitches.
Iribam believes he may have inadvertently stuck his foot into the path of the shark. The water was rather murky with rain runoff and overflow fresh water.
“Lake Okeechobee has been discharging all the lake water in our inlet, making our water hard to see. Usually our water is really clear; here in West Palm Beach it’s really murky. “
The bite hasn’t slowed him down and he still hits the water regularly.
“I still go in. I’m not really scared about it. I was in the water today,” he said.
Earlier this year a surfer was bitten about a mile to the north at Lake Worth Pier.
An unidentified man was carried by a wave into a school of fish and was bitten on the arm by a shark.
Witnesses saw an 8- to 10-foot long shark that had been feeding on the fish grab the man.
He was helped to shore by fellow surfers and given first aid before being transported to the hospital.
There have been a total of 96* shark attack bites in 2017, 7 of which were fatal*; 46 were reported in the US, with 32 occurring in Florida** and two in Hawaii. Fifteen have been reported in Australia, one of which was fatal. Five unconfirmed worldwide and not included in the total count.
All locations have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking Map.
*Two may be scavenge. **One report may have been outside of Florida waters.
All photos supplied.