Shark expert: Closing Oak Island beach Monday would have been right move

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A world-renowned shark expert said he would have closed a stretch of the Oak Island beach Monday following two severe shark attacks within two hours of each other Sunday.

George Burgess is the director of the Florida Program for Shark Research. Burgess said even though the double attack is rare there's still no explanation for why it may have occurred. The researcher said the beach should have been closed for safety and so the issue could have been studied.

Burgess said if there was an ecological reason for the shark attacks that’s something that can be addressed or corrected to try to prevent future shark attacks.

“Having two of them back to back on one beach is troubling and certainly indicates that the community is going to have to be especially careful there for the next few days to make sure that doesn't happen again,” said Burgess.

Both victims were attacked in shallow water about waist-deep. On Monday, many people didn’t go as far into the water and helicopter patrols spotted at least two sharks swimming near the shore.

Burgess said across the nation last year there were 52 unprovoked shark attacks reported but only two of those attacks left victims with serious injuries. He said seeing something so uncommon in just a matter of hours should put future visitors on alert.

“Certainly stay together in groups because predators tend to go after solitary food items,” said Burgess. “Stay out of the water during dusk and dawn, the time when sharks are most active and feeding.”

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