16-year-old Delaware teen reports being bitten by shark - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

16-year-old Delaware teen reports being bitten by shark

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Photo credit: Andrew Vance Photo credit: Andrew Vance
Photo credit: Andrew Vance Photo credit: Andrew Vance
LEWES, Del. -

A Delaware teen is recovering from a shark attack Monday.

Andrew Vance was swimming in the ocean in Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Del. He told us he had to fight the shark off with one arm as the shark clamped down on the other.

“Right now, it's fine,” he said. “The medicine the hospital gave me is working, but when the medicine wears off, it hurts.”

Andrew is back home, but it is going to take weeks for him to heal from the shark attack.

The 16-year-old was swimming in about five feet of water when the shark bit Andrew's left arm. He had to fight to break free.

“I saw something clenching on my arm and there was a huge shark and I punched it in the mouth and he didn't let go, so I stuck my thumb in his mouth and tried to pull his head off and he let go,” Andrew said.

Scott Newlin, a marine biologist with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, believes it was a juvenile sandbar shark.

“I would say no more than three feet long,” said Newlin. “Right now in this area, we have the sandbar sharks pupping. They're having their pups and there is a large amount of young sandbar sharks around.”

Sandbar sharks are usually placid and rarely interact with people, according to experts.

“Based upon the bite, this shark was not interested in feeding,” Newlin said. “It looked like it was an instinct bite and then the shark kind of let go. If he wanted to stay, he could have stayed. They're powerful creatures.”

Luckily for Andrew, the shark did not do more damage.

“The scariest part was after he let go, I thought the blood was going to bring him back and I thought he was going to come back and bite another part of my body,” said Andrew.

He got a large laceration on his left forearm and he received 23 stitches.

Will this high school sophomore from Delmar, Del., get back in the water again?

“I'm sure I will -- just not anytime soon,” he said.

State officials flew over the shoreline in a chopper and saw no shark activity.

As a precaution, the beaches at Cape Henlopen State Park were initially closed on Tuesday, but reopened at 1 p.m.

The experts believe this was truly just an isolated incident.

A Dewey Beach patrol captain said this was the first time in his 34 years as a lifeguard on Delaware's beaches that he has heard of a biting incident like this.

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