4 swimmers attacked by shark on Fourth of July along South Padre Island shore

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Warm ocean water in the Gulf could be leading to a string of shark attacks, with the most recent incident occurring after four swimmers in Texas were targeted within a two-hour period on the Fourth of July.

Witnesses estimated the shark to be about 6 feet long as it swam in the surf off South Padre Island about 11 a.m. CT Thursday along Beach Access 14, near Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) said two people were bitten, and two others encountered the shark, but no serious injuries were reported. Authorities believe the same shark was responsible for all the attacks. City officials told FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth that one of the victims had a “severe shark bite” to the leg.

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The two bitten people were transported to Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville. One is receiving treatment, while the other was airlifted for further medical attention.

After the attacks, lifeguards on the beach encouraged people to avoid the water or only go in knee-deep. The area was also patrolled using helicopters and drones.

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South Padre Island Fire Chief Jim Pigg told FOX 4 that shark attacks in the area are unprecedented.

“The shark was located at the south end of the island and was pushed out to deeper water,” he said. “This is a very rare occurrence that happened on the beaches of South Padre. No further sightings or encounters in the last few hours, but we’ll maintain vigilance.”

The TPWD adds that when shark bites do occur, they are usually a case of mistaken identity by sharks looking for food.

“If you see large schools of bait near the shore, this typically an indicator a predator is nearby,” state wildlife officials note. “If you see a shark in the water, calmly exit the water and wait for the predatory wildlife to pass.”

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