GRAPHIC: Woman suffers shark bite during family vacation: ‘There was a shark on my arm’

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - A Pennsylvania woman is recovering after suffering a shark bite while vacationing in South Carolina.

The Sites family said they were just starting their vacation in Myrtle Beach when their trip took a shocking turn.

“I felt something bite me. I looked down and there was a shark on my arm,” Karen Sites said. “I was only in the water up to my waist, and I kept pushing at it until it let go.”

Karen Sites’ grandson, 8-year-old Brian Sites, said he was nearby when the shark bite happened.

“I couldn’t even see the shark coming up; it jumped up,” Brian Sites said. “I saw the movement of its tail and then it went back into the water.”

Karen Sites said she was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery before receiving hundreds of stitches.

“It’s very clearly a shark bite when you look at the arc of the tooth marks and the damage,” said Daniel Abel, professor of marine science at Coastal Carolina University. “My sympathies to the victim. That’s a horrendous thing to go through.”

Abel said shark bites are rare, but shark sightings are not uncommon this time of year and beachgoers should take some precautions.

“Don’t swim at dawn or dusk. There are not many people in the water and some sharks are closer to the shoreline for feeding,” Abel said. “Don’t swim where there are schools of small fish or near where people are fishing.”

Sites said her shark encounter would not keep her from enjoying the beach in the future as she continues her recovery.