Herring Point at Cape Henlopen State Park. Photo: DNREC

Boy Suffers Possible Shark Bite at Cape Henlopen Beach

A beach at Cape Henlopen, north of Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, was forced to close temporarily after a suspected shark bite sent a 12-year-old boy to the hospital.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) says the “biting incident” was reported just before 1 p.m. Thursday. A boy surfing off Herring Point sustained puncture wounds to his leg and was taken to Beebe Hospital in Lewes, Delaware.

It wasn’t clear exactly what bit the boy, but DNREC closed Herring Point to surfing and swimming for the day and restricted beachgoers around the Cape Henlopen bathhouse to knee-deep waters only.

The restrictions were lifted the next morning, and DNREC tells Bay Bulletin the boy was treated and released from the hospital. The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife believe the bite was most likely a sand shark or bull shark, based on the bite marks.

DNREC Natural Resource Police Park Rangers and lifeguards are patrolling the beach area to warn surfers and other beachgoers to stay in shallow water. DNREC reminds everyone that shark attacks are rare, and there has only been one known shark bite at a Delaware state park, back in June 2014 when a 16 year old boy suffered injuries at Cape Henlopen that required two dozen stitches.

State biologists believe that shark was a juvenile sandbar shark, the most common shark found in the Chesapeake Bay, according to the National Aquarium.

-Meg Walburn Viviano