A 15-year-old church youth group member is recovering after being attacked by a shark Monday at Surfside Beach in Texas.
The teen, who was not identified, was boogie boarding with friends about 50 yards offshore in waist-deep water when the shark reportedly latched onto his left leg.
Officials said the boy reached down and hit the shark on the head to get it off of him.
"He literally reached down and pulled the shark off of him
, pulled the shark off of his leg, which is how he got the lacerations on his hand," Surfside Police Officer and EMT Zuandra Monnat told Click2Houston.com.
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A nurse who happened to be at the beach in Brazoria County tended to the victim's wounds.
"He was just 'am I gonna be okay? Am I gonna be okay?'" nurse Paula Givens told Click2Houston.com. "And I just kept saying to him 'yeah, you're gonna be good.'"
The teen was taken by Life Flight helicopter ambulance to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and is recovering from his non-life-threatening injuries.
Witnesses reported seeing two to three black-tipped sharks swimming near the shore shortly after the attack, but experts say attacks are rare along the Texas Gulf Coast.
"Generally speaking, the number of attacks are rare on the Gulf Coast
and certainly in comparison to the Atlantic Coast," George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla., told the Houston Chronicle.
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There have been 37 attacks on the Texas Gulf Coast since 1911, according to the museum. Two of those were fatalities — a 1911 attack in Galveston County and a 1962 attack in Cameron County.
Only two previous shark attacks were recorded in Brazoria County. The highest number of attacks, 15, were recorded in Galveston County, according to the Chronicle.
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