Young Girl Bitten By Shark In Surf At Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A young North Carolina girl was recovering Wednesday from a shark attack sustained in the surf at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

"We had an unidentified witness on the beach who reported it as a shark attack, and from the evidence that has been drawn from the investigation the rangers are willing to confirm it as a shark attack, but we don’t know the species," Cape Hatteras spokeswoman Cyndy Holda said.

The unidentified 6-year-old was swimming with her father in shallow water off one of the Ocracoke Island beaches when she was bitten about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the right leg and foot, Ms. Holda said.

“She was only in 18 inches of water. That’s not enough water to draft a five- or six-foot shark. So it’s really possible that it was a little sand shark," the spokeswoman said.

The girl, whose leg was lacerated, was reported to be in critical condition in a Greenville, North Carolina, hospital.

Swimmers returned to the beach Wednesday morning, according to seashore officials, and there were no swimming bans in place.

The last known shark attack on the national seashore occurred on September 3, 2001, on a beach at Avon when a Russian couple was attacked by a shark as they swam to an offshore sandbar. The man died from blood loss and his girlfriend was seriously injured, according to seashore records.