(CAPE COD, Mass.) — A man bitten by a shark Monday as he body-surfed with his teenage son off the coast of Ballston Beach near Cape Cod, Mass., is expected to live, officials said.
The attack happened around 3:30 p.m. when Chris Myers, a father of two, was pulled under the water by a shark. Police say the shark bit Myers in both legs below the knees in possibly one single, crushing bite.
“They dragged him out and they had to carry him up here and they had to wrap it around his legs and he was bleeding through the gauzes,” a witness said. “It was bad. Both his legs were pretty bad.”
Myers was conscious and alert when authorities loaded him into an ambulance.
“It was pretty deep. You could see muscle and bone,” Truro police officer Scott Holway said. “It was like his flesh had been ripped.”
Several witnesses say they saw a shark fin appear before the attack. They watched helplessly from the beach as Myers was pulled under the water by the shark. Myers soon surfaced and screamed for help.
Witnesses were able to reach Myers after the attack and bring him safely to shore. After Myers was raced to the hospital, authorities posted notices to swimmers but did not close the beach.
Sharks have been more visible along Cape Cod this summer. Experts say that’s because of a drastic increase of seals in the area.
“The elbow of the cape has these large, dense concentrations of gray seals now, and these white sharks go to the area to feed,” said Greg Skomal, a senior biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “Because the seals are so abundant, now the white sharks are paying more attention.”
A great white shark was spotted trailing a kayaker three weeks ago at Nauset Beach, about 25 miles south of Monday’s attack. That’s a total of four shark sightings this summer off the coast of Cape Cod.
“It’s a little alarming, I have to say,” a beachgoer said. “With kids and boys that are pretty brave to go far out deep in the water, it’s a little alarming especially with the seals coming so close.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
John Clyde, KSL.com
Sara Zendehnam, CNN
Pamela Brown, CNN