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2 Men Injured After Separate Shark Attacks on Florida Coast
Two separate shark attacks took place this weekend about 110 miles apart on Florida's Atlantic coastline, leaving two men injured, according to ABC News.
One man was bitten on the arm, while the other was bitten on the thigh. Both are expected to make a full recovery.
In fact, one of the injured beach goers opted to go to a bar for several drinks rather than go to the hospital.
Competitive surfer, 23-year-old Frank O'Rourke was bit on the arm around 3:30 p.m. while surfing in the water near the pier off Jacksonville Beach in the coastal resort city in northeastern Florida. O'Rourke was 20 to 30 yards away from the pier when he felt a bit on his arm, he told First Coast News.
The bite punctured the skin near his elbow, drawing blood.
"I felt something jump out of the water and latch onto my arm by my elbow. It just grabbed onto me and thrashed in the water and swam away," he said. "I'm very lucky that I still have an arm," he said. "You can see the jawline, like where the jawline is of the shark [...] There's still blood on my surfboard."
O'Rourke said he has seen sharks near the pier before, but never that close and never moving aggressively.
"If it's your time, it's your time," he said, as ABC reported. "If the [sharks] want you, they want you. You're more likely to get struck by lightning than killed by a shark. I'm going to buy a lottery ticket."
Rather than go to the hospital to seek treatment, O'Rourke had his arm bandaged and went looking for free drinks.
"He immediately went to a bar 'cause he was like, 'I got bit by a shark,' and people were like, 'I'll buy you drinks.' So he went and hung out at the pier," said RJ Berger, O'Rourke's friend who witnessed the attack, to News 4 Jax. Berger guessed it was a 3- to 4-foot spinner or blacktip shark.
O'Rourke shared a photo of his bite on his Instagram account.
An hour later and 110-miles south of Jacksonville, 49-year-old William Angell was bitten on the right thigh while boogie boarding at New Smyrna Beach.
"Victim received lacerations to the right thigh from one strike. The shark was not seen," Volusia County officials said in a release, as ABC News reported. "The victim was treated on scene and was not transported by ambulance."
Angell, a Phoenix native on vacation in Florida, drove himself to Bert Fish Medical Center in nearby Edgewater for further treatment, Captain Andrew Ethridge of Volusia County Beach Safety told KNXV.
Florida has been home to 8 of the 24 verified shark attacks in the U.S. this year. The last bite took place two weeks ago in Amelia Island, Florida just 50 miles north of Jacksonville when a 16-year-old girl was bitten on the heel and ankle area of her foot, as People reported.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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