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4 'marine life' bites in Virginia Beach this past week, officials confirm

4 'marine life' bites in Virginia Beach this past week, officials confirm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - There have been four confirmed "marine life" bites in Virginia Beach within the past week, the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad confirmed.

According to EMS, all four people required minor first aid.

The mother of one of the bite victims reached out to Nexstar's WAVY with images showing her 10-year-old daughter's injury. The girl's mother believes her daughter Vivienne was bitten by a baby sand shark last Thursday around 9:20 a.m.

"They really weren't that deep," said Virginia Beach mom Arryn Van Slyke of her twin 10-year-old daughters. "They were probably like a little bit above their knees and they were just jumping, and then all of a sudden they came running out."

Van Slyke said at first, she thought a jellyfish stung them or something, but then Vivienne put her foot out and just screamed.

"I looked down at her foot and I see, like, the whole, like, bite mark and then there was one part where, like, her flesh was showing, so of course I'm, like, just completely in shock," Van Slyke said.

A city spokesperson confirmed that first responders received a call around 9:30 a.m. that day about a child with a foot injury in the water at Sandbridge Beach. First responders assessed the girl and then transported her to a local hospital.

The images provided to WAVY show her at the hospital being treated for her foot injury. The wound from the bite required eight stitches.

There is still no confirmation from officials at this time if the "marine life" that bit the 10-year-old was a shark, but Van Slyke said Vivienne was treated for what was called a "shark bite laceration."

"They did X-rays to make sure there was no teeth in there and to make sure she didn't have any broken bones, and everything was good on the X-ray," Van Slyke said.

Virginia Beach EMS Brigade Chief of Marine Operations Cat Watson said all the bites happened at different times, and the locations were spread out, but she couldn't say what type of marine life the bites were from without medical confirmation.

She said bites like these are rare, but it is the ocean, so you must remain vigilant.

"If you see a large group of school of fish swimming in the ocean, we recommend not swimming in the middle of that," Watson said. "Additionally, if you see a pod of dolphins, that's also not safe to go swim [with] the dolphins. You want to respect marine life because it is their home."

Virginia Beach EMS said to always swim near lifeguards, if there is one, and be aware of your surroundings.

“It’s not just the possibility of sharks, it could be large schools of fish," Watson said. "It could be pods of dolphins, jellyfish, sea life."

Watson added that it's important to avoid those out fishing on the beach.

"Don't swim right next to a fisherman, but maybe give them a little bit of space on either side," Watson said.

Van Slyke said Vivienne is in good spirits and healing well but doesn't plan to go back in the water anytime soon.

"She keeps saying she's really lucky that nothing worse happened, but she's unlucky because she got bit by a shark in the first place," Van Slyke said. "They decided they're probably never going in the water at the beach, which we've been there so many times, so it's just crazy that it even happened. But yeah, it's really scary."

If you need medical attention at the beach, flag down a lifeguard and call 911.

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