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Teenage surfer attacked by shark at New Jersey shore

Maggie Drozdowski, 15, needed multiple stitches after incident in water at Stone Harbor

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 23 May 2023 18:06 BST
Teen surfer recalls shark attack off New Jersey coast: ‘It pulled me down a little bit’

A teenage girl was attacked and bitten by a shark as she surfed at the New Jersey shore, according to officials.

Maggie Drozdowski, 15, was in the water at the 109th Street beach in Stone Harbor when the incident took place on Sunday afternoon.

“I was in shock and I didn’t even realize what was going on until I was out of the water. But it scared me. I screamed under the water. It was scary,” the teenager told CBS News Philadelphia.

Maggie Drozdowski was attacked by a shark in New Jersey (CBS News Philadelphia)

She says that she lost her board after being hit by a big wave and that is when the shark grabbed her foot and pulled her underwater.

“I really shook it off as much as I could. It was hard though it was heavy. But I shook my foot as hard as I could to get it off,” she recalled.

She then had to paddle back to shore to seek help.

“It was hard and I didn’t catch one wave on my way out either. It took me three or four minutes to fully get out of the water, and then I had to limp with the board in my hand all the way up across the sand to the beach to get across to her family,” she added.

Maggie was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities say that she suffered cuts to her foot and calf and needed six stitches.

The 15-year-old suffered cuts to her foot and calf and needed six stitches (CBS News Philadelphia)

“After careful examination, it has been ascertained by the New Jersey State Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office that the injuries sustained by the surfer are consistent with those typically associated with a shark of unknown size and type,” Stone Harbor officials said.

An investigation into the attack has been launched but the type of shark involved in the incident remains unknown. Beach activities at the location remain unaffected but beachgoers have been urged to use caution in the water.

“Stone Harbor remains a beloved and popular destination for beachgoers from near and far. The local police and fire departments are fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of both residents and tourists. They are taking appropriate measures to thoroughly assess the situation and provide necessary updates to the public,” said mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour.

The University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File says that 2022 saw 108 shark-human interactions, with 57 being unprovoked bites and 32 being provoked bites.

There were nine fatalities globally with five being classified as unprovoked. The US led the world with 41 shark-human interactions, with one fatality.

The university says that Florida has topped their data “for decades” and in 2022 the state saw 16 shark bites, which represents 39 per cent of the US total and 28 per cent of the global number.

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