Are beaches open after 2 shark attacks in 1 day in Walton County, Florida? How are victims? (2024)

A pair of shark attacks Friday in Walton County, Florida, resulted in three people going to local hospitals, with one woman losing her left hand.

On Saturday, June 8, the beaches were open again, with the South Walton Fire District changing the flags from double red to single red and purple, meaning hazardous water and possible dangerous marine life.

Here's what we know about the shark bites and the victims:

Where were June 2024 shark attacks in Florida?

The shark bites occurred in Walton County on the Florida Panhandle. Both incidents happened between Miramar Beach and Panama City Beach.

The first bite took place about 1:20 p.m. Friday, June 7. A 45-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital after swimming past the first sandbar near Founders Land in Watersound Beach, west of Seacrest Beach.

The second shark attack took place just before 3 p.m. near Inlet Beach, about 4 miles east of the first incident. Two teenage girls, one 15 and one 17, were taken to area hospitals. The girls were swimming with friends just inside the first sandbar.

How are the Florida shark attack victims? What is their condition?

The 45-year-old woman was taken via helicopter to HCA Fort Walton-Destin Hospital. She is in critical condition with severe injuries, including the loss of her lower left arm.

One of the girls was taken by helicopter to Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola. She was listed in critical condition with severe injuries to her upper and lower extremities.

The other girl was taken to Ascension Bay Medical Center in Panama City Beach. She was in stable condition with flesh wounds to her lower right extremity.

Are beaches open today in Walton County, Florida, after shark attacks?

Corey Dobridnia,public information officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Office, said as of 8:05 a.m. CT Saturday, June 8, the South Walton Fire District was changing the double-red flags and reopening the beaches and waters again.

"Walton County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife will have their boats in the Gulf to monitor the shoreline," Dobridnia said. "We just ask everyone to be aware of their surroundings while in the water."

Are beaches open today in Bay County, Florida?

Neighboring Bay County also closed its beaches Friday after the shark attacks. The Panama City Beach and Bay County websites did not have an update Saturday morning, with Bay County listing the risk level as "extreme."

When was the last shark attack in Walton County, Florida?

According to trackingsharks.com, the incidents in Walton County are the first three shark-related incidents in Florida in 2024.

How many shark bites were there worldwide in 2023?

The Florida Museum of Natural History’sInternational Shark Attack Fileinvestigated 120 alleged shark-human interactions worldwide in 2023.Sixty-nine were confirmed as unprovoked shark biteson humans and 22 were found to be provoked bites.

Breakdown of 2023 reports around the world:

  • Unprovoked bites: 69
  • Provoked bites: 22
  • Boat bites: 9
  • Scavenge: 2 (post-mortem bites)
  • Public Aquaria: 1
  • No assignment could be made: 1
  • Not confirmed: 16

How does 2023 compare to other years when it comes to shark bites?

The 69 confirmed unprovoked cases is in line with the most recent five-year (2018-2022) average of 63 incidents annually, according to Florida Museum.

How many fatal shark bites happened in 2023?

There were 14 confirmed shark-related fatalities this year, 10 of which were considered unprovoked. Two occurred in the U.S.

2023 more than doubles 5-year average of fatal shark bites

The 14 shark-related fatalities is higher than the five-year annual global average of six unprovoked fatalities per year.

Three of the unprovoked fatalities were due to bites from white sharks on surfers in Australia.

Florida Museum said the increase in fatalities in 2023 could reflect year-to-year variation, "but it might also be the consequence of theincreasing number of white sharks seen at aggregation sites near beaches that are popular with surfers (particularly in Australia)."

Top 5 locations for unprovoked shark bites worldwide

According to the International Shark Attack File, the top 5 locations for unprovoked shark bites are:

  • United States: 36, with 2 fatal
  • Australia: 15, with 4 fatal
  • New Caledonia: 3, with 1 fatal
  • Brazil: 3, with no fatalities
  • Egypt: 2, with 1 fatal

TheUnited Statesrecorded the most unprovoked shark bites in 2023, with 36 confirmed cases. This is slightly lower than the 41 incidents recorded in 2022.

Florida tops US in number of unprovoked shark bites

Florida continues to be the No. 1 location for the number of shark bites.

There were 16 bites — although none were fatal — confirmed in 2023. That's lower than Florida's historic average of 19 incidents a year.

  • Florida: 16 bites, none fatal
  • Hawaii: 8 bites, 1 fatal
  • New York: 4 bites, none fatal
  • California: 2 bites, 1 fatal
  • North Carolina: 3 bites, none fatal
  • South Carolina: 2 bites, none fatal
  • New Jersey: 1 bite, none fatal

According to Florida Museum, here's what people were doing when bitten by a shark:

  • Surfing/board sports: 42%
  • Swimming/wading: 39%
  • Snorkeling/free diving: 13%
  • Other: 6%

Florida East Coast sees most of state's shark attacks

While there have been shark bites around the state, two things stand out:

  1. There have been no reported shark bites in the Big Bend area.
  2. The majority of shark bites happen along Florida's East Coast, especially between Jacksonville and Palm Beach County.

Top 10: Confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in Florida from 1882 to present

  1. Volusia County: 351
  2. Brevard County: 158
  3. Palm Beach County: 83
  4. St. Johns County: 45
  5. Duval County:46
  6. Martin County: 41
  7. St. Lucie County: 39
  8. Indian River County: 22
  9. Monroe County: 21
  10. Miami-Dade County: 20
Are beaches open after 2 shark attacks in 1 day in Walton County, Florida? How are victims? (2024)
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