Shelby teen injured in suspected shark attack on Hilton Head Isl - | WBTV Charlotte

Shelby teen injured in suspected shark attack on Hilton Head Island

(Photo courtesy Linton Suttle) (Photo courtesy Linton Suttle)
(Photo courtesy Linton Suttle) (Photo courtesy Linton Suttle)

Shelby resident Linton Suttle was vacationing on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina last week when he experienced an encounter he’ll never forget.

Suttle, a student at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, said he was pulling his little sister on a boogie board when it happened. He said he tried to pull his sibling into a wave when he felt his left foot get jerked and noticed a sharp pain.

“It hurt a lot, and it felt like a stinging pain,” explained Suttle. “It stung really bad and it got to the point where the bottom of my foot felt numb.”

Suttle said he then noticed a shadowy figure that appeared to be a shark in the water.

He said his mother carried him up to the family’s tent on the beach so they could tend to the wound. Suttle said his parents initially downplayed the injury despite his efforts to convince them he had been bitten by a shark.

“I’m pretty dramatic so I thought it was a shark at first but at the same time I was like, ‘my mom’s not going to think it’s a shark,” Suttle said.

He said he continued to pester his parents about the origin of the injury. Eventually, Suttle’s father contacted George Burgess, Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the University of Florida, to ask about the incident.

Burgess was quick to respond-telling the family that Linton Suttle’s injury did appear to be a shark-inflicted wound. He said he would describe the injury as a shark “rake” more than a shark “bite."

“The patterns are very distinctively shark, so there’s no doubt at all about that,” Burgess said.

Suttle currently has his foot wrapped in a bandage. He said Burgess instructed him to get antibiotics to help treat the wound. The teenage boy is now back in Shelby and the wound is already starting to heal.

“I’m really thankful that it wasn’t that bad, because it could have been a lot worse and I’m really happy it wasn’t,” said Suttle.

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