© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ballwin girl bitten by a shark in South Carolina


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC – A 7-year-old girl from Ballwin was bitten by a shark while playing in two feet of water, according to deputies in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

The girl suffered puncture wounds to her foot and buttocks in the attack Wednesday afternoon, but deputies say the injuries were not life threatening.

Lifeguards and others on the beach first thought the girl had been stung by a stingray, but the doctor who treated her found a shark tooth embedded in her foot, authorities said.

The girl is the daughter of Amy B. Wallis , but deputies did not have the child's name.

Sharks often get closer to shore as the ocean waters warm and the bait fish they eat get closer to the beach, said Al Stokes, manager of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources' Waddell Mariculture Center. An average of three shark bites are reported on South Carolina beaches each year, said Charles Farmer, a 38-year veteran of the natural resources department who wrote a book about sharks.

The last fatal shark attack off Hilton Head occurred in 1883, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.