Home News Shark Attack Database Lists 2 Incidents in Ocean City History

Shark Attack Database Lists 2 Incidents in Ocean City History

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The bar graphs in this Shark Attack Database chart show years when there were shark attacks in New Jersey (16 different years, including only four years with multiple attacks). The line graphs show 10-year averages.

 

If the media’s feeding frenzy on shark stories has you newly timid near the ocean’s edge this summer, take a look at the shark attack database compiled by the nonprofit Shark Research Institute of Princeton.

The database lists all known shark attacks worldwide since the late 19th century and shows how extremely rare they are.

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See the database: sharkattackdata.com
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The database does list two unprovoked Ocean City attacks, including one 55 years ago that included a dramatic rescue, according to published reports at the time.

Richard P. Chung — a 25-year-old medical student from Seoul, Korea, studying at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park Pa. — told the Ocean City Sentinel that he could swim a mile at age 5 and came to Ocean City often to swim seven to 10 miles at a time, “finding refreshment and peace in breasting the strong currents of the ocean.”

On a long swim at dusk on Aug. 30, 1960, Chung found something other than “refreshment and peace.” He found a dorsal fin.

The shark was pacing him as he swam straight out an estimated mile and a quarter from the beach off Sixth Street, according to the report.

What Chung said was a 10-foot shark took a bite at his leg before swimming away.

Rapidly losing strength and trailing a stream of blood, Chung began to swim back to shore when a pedestrian on the Ocean City Boardwalk with binoculars spotted the distressed swimmer. The alert Ocean City visitor flagged down a summer police patrolman, John Garrison. The patrolman took a look himself before sprinting to a call box, according to the Sentinel.

Two off-duty Ocean City Beach Patrol members who were rowing at 18th Street after work, Richard J. Clune and Lawrence W. Stedem, were alerted to the emergency. They raced to a car and drove down to Sixth Street to launch another boat — with a third lifeguard directing them from the shore by pointing a raised oar to steer them toward Chung.

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The lifeguards reported hearing a weak cry as they approached Chung swimming in a pool of blood. But they said he was “calm as could be” once they had him in the boat.

Four other lifeguards on the beach — Russell Migeot, Fred Seaman, William Astrot and Bruce Presti — helped tie a makeshift tourniquet once Chung landed.

He was transported to Shore Memorial Hospital where doctors gave him blood transfusions, repaired tendons and gave him stitches. Chung reportedly did not lose his leg.

Ocean City’s other reported incident occurred 20 years later at 14th Street Beach on July 29, 1980.

Fifteen-year-old Jeff Moffat of Hatboro, Pa., was standing in waist-deep water at about 3:30 p.m. when something bit him. He did not see his attacker, according to the Sentinel. But he emerged from the water with a “bite-like wound on his lower back” that included four puncture marks about four inches apart.

He was taken to Shore Memorial Hospital, treated and released that day.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2005 that an expert had determined 25 years later that the bite mark could have been made only by a shark.

The two incidents are the only “unprovoked” shark attacks listed for Ocean City’s history. The database categorizes injuries to fishermen trying to land sharks as “provoked.”

Information from the Shark Attack Database is based on a larger Global Shark Attack File and is designed to “increase understanding, and promote an informed discussion on the subject of shark attacks.”

The database lists 1,801 unprovoked shark attacks in the United States since 1900, including 157 fatal.

New Jersey has seen 36 unprovoked shark attacks, five fatal, including four in the summer of 1916 (one in Beach Haven, one in Spring Lake and two that occurred miles up Matawan Creek from open water).

A series of shark bites at North Carolina beaches this summer, including two in which teenagers lost their arms, sparked widespread media attention to anything shark-related.

Many species of shark inhabit and migrate through New Jersey waters. Sightings and catches are common. Attacks are not.