A Beaufort teenager is recuperating after she was bitten by a shark in North Carolina last month.
Makena Newsome was swimming off Ocean Isle Beach on June 11 when she kicked an object in the water, an object she later learned was a shark between four feet and six feet long, Newsome said Thursday.
The shark bit the 13-year-old's foot, opening wounds on her toes and the bottom of her foot, requiring 25 stitches to close.
Newsome was on a boogie board swimming alongside her cousins at Ocean Isle, about 40 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, when the attack occurred. In waist-deep water, the shark bit Newsome and yanked the board away from her, tearing the strap from her wrist.
Newsome's family on the shore saw the damaged boogie board fly up from the water but not the teen, giving them a scare before Makena ran to them, her mother, Corey, said.
"The board came up before she did, but the bites did not match her wound," she said. "That was, of course, very scary. We were all thankful she was OK."
The teen and her family later recovered the board, missing two large chunks from where the shark had bitten it.
The incident is believed to be the first reported shark attack in the Carolinas this summer. Since Newsome was attacked on June 11, nine more shark attacks have been reported.
Newsome and her family were still vacationing in North Carolina when two teenagers were severely wounded by sharks at Oak Island, N.C., on June 14, her mother said.
During the attack, Makena said, she wasn't scared, but the magnitude of the incident hit her once she safely retreated to the beach. She was taken to an area hospital, where her bite and the bites to the boogie board were documented. Using the size of the bites on the boogie board, they were able to determine how large the shark was, she said.
The boogie board stayed in Newsome's hospital room during her stay. Dozens of people stopped in the room to take pictures of the half-eaten board, Corey Newsome said.
The account of the shark attack quickly circulated throughout Newsome's family and friends, but not everyone believed it at first. Corey Newsome said her brother initially thought the story was a joke.
"My friends were in shock when I told them," Makena said. "It doesn't normally happen down here."
Newsome was on crutches after the attack and had her stitches removed June 21. The wounds on her foot haven't fully healed, so she has yet to return to the beach. She said Thursday she hasn't decided yet if she will get back in the water.
Corey Newsome said the family initially thought they'd get right back in the water, but the recent rash of shark attacks has given her pause. Since the attack, Newsome has "been obsessed" with reading about the shark attacks in the region.
"We were in town on Sunday when the two on Oak Island were bit," she said. "It made it a lot scarier, and there have been a lot more bites since then. We're thankful her bite was superficial."
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.