- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2005

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) — A 17-year-old surfer in New Jersey lost a chunk of leg flesh in what is likely the state’s first attack by a great white shark in 30 years, officials said yesterday.

New Jersey resident Ryan Horton was about 25 feet off the beach at Surf City, Long Beach Island early Sunday afternoon when he felt a sharp pain in his ankle but didn’t see what caused it. After paddling back to shore, he was taken to a hospital, Surf City police said.

Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey said photos of the wound confirmed it could only have been made by the great white variety.

The last recorded shark attack in New Jersey was at Sandy Hook in 1975, the year of the movie “Jaws,” which terrified audiences with tales of great white attacks.

Although such attacks are rare, there is evidence that great white sharks live in the waters off New Jersey. In recent summers, naturalists have found signs of the sharks, including two dead sea turtles with 27-inch gashes that could only have been caused by a great white shark.

Other sharks that share New Jersey waters with swimmers include the “very aggressive” bull shark, the mako shark and the sand tiger shark.

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