Two teenagers, a 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, each lost a limb following separate shark attacks in Oak Island in North Carolina.

The female victim who was swimming near Ocean Crest Pier was attacked around 4:12 p.m. on Sunday. Responders were still tending to her when the second attack occurred about 90 minutes later.

The victims were brought to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, where they arrived in critical condition. By 11:30 p.m., the two victims, who were visitors from out of town, were already in fair condition.

Hospital spokesperson Martha Harlan said that the victims both had an arm amputated. The boy was amputated below the shoulder while the girl was amputated at the elbow. The female victim also has serious tissue damage to her leg.

A witness to the incident said that the shark that attacked the boy was between seven to eight feet long.

Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace said that it is not yet certain whether or not it was the same shark responsible for the two attacks.

Wallace said that shark attacks rarely happen at Oak Island, a town whose population of 7,000 swells to 25,000 in the summer as visitors flock to go to the beach. She could not even recall one happening before the twin attacks on Sunday.

Steve Bouser, who was with his wife at the beach when the attack occurred, described the scene when people started to shout to get out of the water.

"I saw someone carry this girl (out of the water) and people were swarming around and trying to help. It was quite terrible", Bouser said. His wife said that the scene was much like those in the movie Jaws.

Although sharks are apex predators, they do not commonly attack humans. Nonetheless, observing some behaviors could come in handy to reduce one's risks of becoming a victim of shark attacks.

It isn't a good idea to swim in the water if one is bleeding because sharks can smell blood and are able to trace this back to the source.

Wearing shiny jewelry isn't also a good idea because the reflected light may appear as shining scales of fishes, which sharks eat for food. It is also best to steer clear of water that is being fished or have plenty of bait fishes. It isn't also a good idea to go swimming in waters that are known to be infested with sharks.

Photo: Steve Garner | Flickr

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