After two young people lost limbs in separate shark attacks in costal North Carolina this weekend, the beaches were open Monday and the mayor said she didn't think emergency workers had enough time between incidents to close the beaches.
A 12-year-old girl was attacked just after 4 p.m. Sunday in Oak Island, and a 16-year-old boy was attacked less than two hours later about two miles away.
Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace told The Associated Press on Monday that she didn't think that gave workers enough time to decide to close the beach between attacks. Beaches were closed after the second attack.
"Our local police ATVs and the sheriff's boat and helicopter patrolled immediately after the second one, getting everyone out of the water," Wallace said in an email.
Wallace says that even if the beach had closed after the first attack, the order might not have reached the area of the second incident.
"I don't know if it would have extended between the two (locations)," she wrote.
It was unclear whether the same shark attacked the victims. The girl lost part of her arm and suffered a leg injury, and the boy lost his left arm, officials said. Their names hadn't been released as of Monday morning.
The two were in fair condition at a hospital in Wilmington, about 25 miles away, after surgeries Sunday, local media outlets reported.
On Monday, the beaches were open, with officials encouraging people to stay only in shallow water, Oak Island town manager Tim Holloman said.
Wallace said: "When something like this happens, everyone is on edge, but this is the first time in memory we've had an occurrence of this sort."
Fire Chief Christopher Anselmo told NBC's "Today" show that Sunday's attacks were his first such experience in 16 years with the department.
"We can't guarantee anything — these are ocean waters," Anselmo said. "There's a lot of fish and sharks that are in the ocean. There's nothing we can do to control that. We can only education people to be careful in the water."
Brunswick County planned to have a boat and a helicopter patrolling the water, Holloway said.
"Oak Island is still a safe place," Holloman said. "We're monitoring the situation. This is highly unusual."
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