Every Shark Attack in the US in 2022 (So Far)

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: September 23, 2022
Image Credit Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com
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Anyone who gets into the water where sharks live has the thought in the back of their mind that they may encounter one. They may have flashbacks to movies that detail shark attacks but still, that isn’t enough to dissuade them. Most dismiss these thoughts, knowing that the chances of a shark attack are incredibly low. But they can’t deny that the chance always exists. Below, we detail the shark attacks around the US in 2022—some were minor while others required hundreds of stitches. Still, some of the worst attacks required amputation. While some of the people who suffered injuries plan to return to the water after complete healing, others have developed a more trepidatious attitude about swimming in the ocean.

Kiawah Island, SC – May 24, 2022

This shark attack occurred in South Carolina but the woman to whom this happened was actually visiting from New Jersey. Although interviewed, she chose to remain anonymous. She was always beach-loving and would make her way to the waters anytime she could. She’s loved the ocean since she was a child and she’s even enjoyed swimming with other sea creatures like stingrays and barracudas—she was never afraid.

However, on May 24, 2022, she had a much too close encounter with a shark. She was only about waist deep in the water. Just after noon, she felt the shark bite down on her leg before letting go and leaving her alone. Unfortunately, her love for the ocean has shifted as she now can’t help but fear what might be swimming underneath, especially when the water is too cloudy to see clearly.

Lovers Point Beach in Monterey Bay, CA – June 22, 2022

This shark attack occurred at Lovers Point Beach, which is located nearly 90 miles south of San Francisco. The male swimmer was in the water, and he suffered significant injuries to both his stomach area and one of his legs. He is a surfer, so someone well acquainted with the water, but this shark attack certainly caught him by surprise. He was immediately taken to a local hospital to ensure that he received the proper care.

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Understandably, the scene at the beach was incredibly hectic as the man emerged and was rushed to the hospital. Later, he was identified as Stephen Bruemmer, a man in his 60’s who has been enjoying his retirement and previously served as a professor at Monterey Peninsula College. Unfortunately, he emerged with a broken femur, but the good news is that he survived the attack.

Florida Keys, FL – June 29, 2022

Imagine going on vacation from Texas to the Florida Keys—it’s like accessing a slice of paradise. Unless a shark tries to take a slice out of your leg. Unfortunately, this was the case for a 35-year-old woman who was visiting the Florida Keys with her husband and their two daughters. Her name is Lindsay Bruns, and it was close to 7pm when they decided to take an evening dip in the water. She was enjoying jumping from the pontoon’s platform and during her last jump, she tried to flip. When she hit the water, her husband felt the splash was much too loud.

As soon as she emerged from the water, she was in full panic. She was screaming for his aid. As if in a scene from a horror movie, he watched as blood flooded the water around her. Without hesitation, he jumped right in to help her back onto the pontoon. She was covered in blood, and you could see a very obvious gash on her right leg. Her husband worked quickly and placed a rope tourniquet around her leg to control the bleeding before alerting the emergency response team. They were instructed to head toward a nearby restaurant so that the medical team could assist.

There was other medical personnel already in the area that were able to get them to the restaurant safely. The wound on the woman’s leg was consistent in shape with that of a shark bite. It went from the top of her hip all the way down to the space just above her knee. She received a blood transfusion and was then transported by helicopter to Miami where she was received by hospital staff. She had to undergo several hours of surgery and there was some uncertainty about the viability of her leg. A couple more surgeries were performed, and it’s expected that she will regain most of her leg’s functionality.

Florida Beach, FL – July 3, 2022

Great White shark breaching
Unfortunately some shark attacks result in the loss of limbs or life

Jayaprasanna T.L/Shutterstock.com

This next shark attack is unreal. This teenage girl was in only about five feet of water collecting scallops when she felt something chomp on her leg. Immediately, she knew she was in trouble. Her name is Addison Bethea, and she says that when she turned to look at her leg, she noticed that she was being feasted on by a large shark. Luckily, her brother was there with her, and he was able to quickly grab her and kick the shark away.

Unfortunately, the damage to her leg was so severe that her leg had to be amputated right above her right knee. She was rushed in for emergency surgery when she arrived at the hospital but attempts to restore blood flow to the leg were not entirely successful. During this holiday weekend, there were several other reported shark attacks, some unconfirmed though the lacerations were consistent with shark bites.

New Smyrna, FL – July 3, 2022

During the same holiday weekend, a shark attack was reported by a man who had been surfing out by New Smyrna Beach located in Volusia County. The attack occurred just before 12pm when the surfer fell off of his board. He felt a bite on his left foot and was shortly after taken to the hospital. Luckily, the injury wasn’t life-threatening. Although he survived this shark attack, it’s certainly an experience he will never forget.

Long Island, NY – July 3, 2022

When there’s a shark attack, beach closures are usually the next step taken as a precaution to prevent more injuries. This shark attack occurred off the coast of Long Island, New York. This man’s body sustained several wounds, and he was rushed to the hospital. Luckily, he survived the incident and although it’s considered rare for this to occur, two beaches were closed because there’s been an increasing number of shark attacks on the East Coast. This man is a lifeguard named Zach Gallo and he was actually in the middle of an emergency exercise when this happened.

Role-playing with a team of other lifeguards, he took the role of victim, not knowing that he would actually become one. The shark that bit him was somewhere between four and five feet long. It got him in the chest and also injured his right hand. Despite the attack, Gallo was able to walk out of the water on his own and get bandaged up before he was rushed to the hospital. Officials believe that the sudden changes in the weather have led sharks closer to these areas, explaining why there have been more sightings and attacks.

Ocean Beach, NY – July 8, 2022

This next shark attack also happened to a lifeguard. The lifeguard in this story was 17-year-old, John Mullins. He was in the middle of training with other lifeguards near Ocean Beach on Fire Island when he felt a strange sensation on his foot. He describes that he felt the teeth inside of his skin and when he naturally responded by yanking his foot out, he felt the teeth scrape against him as if he had a rake going upward into his foot.

Nobody present that day expected a real emergency to take place during training but apparently, all parties involved handled the incident extremely well. Mullins was only about 150 yards from shore when he felt the shark bite. He’s always been a great swimmer and has been well acquainted with the ocean throughout his life. He says his next time out in the water will likely be scary, but he knows he’ll be okay. He needed five stitches on his foot and had to take a short break to keep his foot out of the water until healed completely.

Smith Point Beach, Long Island, NY – July 13, 2022

animals eat their young: sand tiger shark
Sand Tiger Sharks are believed to be responsible for these New York attacks

iStock.com/mirror-images

After this shark attack, swimming was no longer allowed at Long Island Beach, NY. It had been the second apparent attack by a shark that same day. First, it was a surfer named Sean Donnelly who walked away from the incident but with a gash to his leg that spanned four inches. He believes he was bitten by a sand tiger shark. He reported to officials that he had been knocked off of his surfboard and then bitten by the shark. It was very early in the morning around 7am. To protect himself, he punched the shark multiple times until eventually, a wave helped get him over to safety. In the moment, he did what he could and when he saw he had all four limbs, he experienced massive relief and got himself to shore.

Just after 6pm on that same day, a man who had been visiting from Arizona suffered a shark bite as well. He was in the water, only waist deep when suddenly a shark appeared from behind him and bit his behind and his left wrist. He was able to walk out and get to safety, but he was rushed by helicopter to a nearby hospital. Luckily, in both of these events, the men survived. However, this location has seemed to become a hotspot for shark attacks since it’s close to where a lifeguard had been attacked only two weeks prior. Locals are becoming increasingly concerned about shark sightings and attacks in the area and officials are working with researchers to try and understand what has caused the increase in shark presence close to shore.

Myrtle Beach, SC – August 15, 2022

In Myrtle Beach, SC, two shark bites happened on the same day. One was a minor injury to the leg while the other was a more severe injury to a woman’s arm. Karen Sites is the woman who suffered an arm injury. In water that only reached her waist and along with her eight-year-old grandson, the shark came through and locked its jaw down on Sites’ arm. Her natural instinct was to fight it off and she did until it finally released her. The wounds were so severe she required hundreds of stitches.

Florida Keys, FL – August 23, 2022

Bull shark in Caribbean sea.
Bull sharks are one of the most dangerous sharks in the world

Carlos Grillo/Shutterstock.com

Although with many shark attacks, the people injured walk away with non-threatening injuries, in this case, a 10-year-old boy lost a part of his leg. He had been snorkeling off of the Florida Keys along with his family when a bull shark attacked. The boy’s name is Jameson Reeder Jr. His family worked quickly to get him back into a boat as soon as the attack happened. The family applied a tourniquet to control the bleeding and they were able to flag down a nearby and much faster boat. To their surprise and relief, that faster boat contained a nurse who helped assist the boy as they got him to shore.

Jameson was eventually transferred by helicopter to a children’s hospital located in Miami but even with expert care, the damage was much too severe to save his entire leg. His leg was amputated below the knee. Despite having suffered such a horrific attack that took away a part of his body, he says he feels incredibly lucky to be alive. Researchers are still looking into which factors have changed that have led to an increased number of shark attacks. One theory is that the temperature of the sea has been steadily increasing, leading them to the north east. Others theorize that shark conservation efforts have also played a part in the increase they’ve witnessed recently.

Why Do Sharks Attack?

There are several theories about why sharks bite and attack people. Although none of it is known for certain, there is one important fact that should be addressed. Sharks don’t attack humans because they’re interested in consuming them. Sharks don’t enjoy feasting on humans. In fact, when sharks attack it is simply a case of mistaken identity. When life is lost after a shark attack, it’s often due to severe blood loss.

The human body is incredibly vulnerable to the razor-sharp teeth of sharks. Sharks have a unique way of approaching their prey. They try to gauge the value of their prey to see if it’s worth eating, which is why sometimes they just nip at humans. Although, a nip for a shark feels like a massive attack to humans. Once a shark has nipped at a human and realized that it’s not the type of prey it’s interested in, it releases and goes about its way to find something that it would actually like to make a meal out of.

Sharks prefer to feast on sea animals like seals and stingrays but those, like humans, tend to swim closer to the shore. Therefore, sharks have to travel out toward shore to find some of their favorite foods. This is where they encounter humans who are sometimes dressed in wetsuits or who are paddling on a board and they get confused, thinking that they may have found a sea animal that they would like to prey on.

Sharks are well-known predators, and they dominate their environments. This gives them the upper hand, so to speak, even though all they have are fins. They operate with confidence and also with immense curiosity, which is what leads them to nip not just at people but also at objects to figure out what they’re all about. Since they don’t have hands or fingertips to examine what they’re observing, they rely on their incredibly sensitive mouths to let them know what’s in front of them. Whether it’s a surfboard, an underwater camera, or a human wearing flippers, if a shark is curious, it’ll likely use its mouth to deepen its understanding of its environment.

Sharks operate with curiosity, and they sometimes get confused, especially when the water is cloudy or when the conditions aren’t pristine. Some shark bites are just a case of thinking that a human is prey when they are not. With really low visibility, it can be really difficult for the shark to distinguish between a seal and a human wearing a wetsuit. On the other hand, sharks may bite as a way to defend themselves. If they’re feeling threatened, they are certainly going to use the tools they have at their disposal to ensure they don’t become prey to another sea creature.

Bites aren’t the first line of defense for sharks either. They will typically communicate with their body language that they are feeling threatened and that they are willing to get aggressive if need be. The problem is that most humans aren’t privy to this information because the sharks are displaying this posturing inside the water. Then, when the human inadvertently continues what appears to be threatening movements to the shark, the shark will move in to make itself known as the ultimate aggressor.

How to Survive a Shark Attack

Lemon shark with sunrays
Always remain calm if you encounter a shark – it is more likely to attack if you panic and thrash around

iStock.com/Michael Geyer

Although shark attacks are incredibly rare, as you can see, they do happen. If you’re someone who is much too passionate about the ocean to pass it up when you get the chance, you should at least have some information about how to potentially survive a shark attack should you find yourself face-to-face with one of these underwater creatures.

Before even stepping into the water, you should first understand your environment. There are certain places where shark sightings are a lot more prevalent and that you should avoid altogether. For example, a river mouth isn’t exactly a swim-friendly zone. Bull sharks tend to thrive in these environments and the waters tend to be murky, which limits your visibility and limits the shark’s visibility. It is much more likely that a shark will mistake you for prey in these types of environments and you won’t be able to get a fair warning because you won’t be able to see underwater.

Another environment to avoid as a swimmer is a fishing environment. If you see fishing boats out on the water, don’t dive in. Usually, there are remnants of fish and fish bait spilling about these environments that are attractive to sharks. If you jump into the water, you’re just putting yourself in danger. Along with knowing which environments to avoid, you should also know which times of day shark attacks are most likely to occur. Usually, it’s dusk and dawn. These are the times of day with lower visibility and sharks may have a harder time identifying prey from non-prey.

Those are the preventive measures you can take when it comes to avoiding shark attacks altogether. However, once you’re in the water, there’s still that minor possibility that you’ll encounter a shark while swimming. If you do happen to encounter a shark and it starts circling you, the first thing to remember is you cannot panic. It is much easier said than done but you cannot start splashing wildly. If you do, the shark’s curiosity will pique, and it’ll get more excited about engaging with you. The best thing you can do is keep your eyes on the shark. Don’t turn away from it. If it’s swimming around you, swivel your body around with it as it circles you.

Sharks tend to ambush their prey from behind so by keeping your front toward the shark, you’re letting it know that you’re aware of its presence. Now, if a shark does decide to attack, the best thing you can do is fight like hell. Punch it, kick it, poke at any sensitive spots like its eyes or nostrils or gills to get it off of you. If you happen to have anything with you in the water, turn it into a weapon.

When the shark disengages with you, swim slowly away from the encounter. Don’t turn your back to the shark. Swim backward without too much splashing or thrashing around until you get to a safe place, whether it’s a boat or whether it’s shore. The final tip is to always, always have someone with you when you’re out in the ocean. You don’t want to get caught in a situation like this alone.

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About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

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