Kids who lost arms in NC may have been attacked by bull sharks

A researcher with the University of North Carolina Wilmington believes the two kids, who were attacked in waist deep water, were victims of aggressive sharks.

Emergency responders assist a teenage girl at the scene of a shark attack in Oak Island, N.C., Sunday, June 14, 2015. Mayor Betty Wallace of Oak Island, a seaside town bordered to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, said that hours after the teenage girl suffered severe injuries in a shark attack Sunday a teenage boy was also severely injured. (Steve Bouser/The Pilot, Southern Pines, N.C. via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

OAK ISLAND, North Carolina (WFLA) – Last weekend’s shark attacks in North Carolina may have people wondering what kind of sharks bit the children. A 12-year-old girl lost her left arm below her elbow and a 16-year-old boy lost part of his arm in two separate attacks on Sunday.

A researcher with the University of North Carolina Wilmington believes the two kids, who were attacked in waist deep water, were victims of aggressive sharks. “What that suggests to me is one of the more aggressive ones, probably a bull shark,” UNCW biological oceanographer Dr. Larry Cahoon told the Port City Daily. “Bull sharks are common in these waters. They have a reputation of being dangerous. That’s the most likely one you’re going to see.” Cahoon said that moderately dangerous sharks like tigers and hammerheads do not usually come that close to shore.

Researchers with OCEARCH track sharks as they swim in oceans around the world. But none were tracked in the area in the same time frame as the attacks on Sunday. OCEARCH tracked a female tiger shark named “Chessie” at 12:40 p.m. on June 16 in Port Royal Sound in South Carolina. “Mary Lee” a great white shark was tracked at 3:34 p.m. on June 16 a large distance off the coast of Georgia.

OCEARCH has been tracking other great white sharks on the East Coast that they’ve named Katherine and Lydia. Both sharks have their own Twitter handles as well @Shark_Katherine and @RockStarLydia. OCEARCH attaches GPS trackers to the fins of sharks, releases them back into the water and tracks them. The GPS monitors “ping” when the sharks surface.

Learn more about OCEARCH and the sharks the organization tracks. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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