Family says 5-year-old boy bitten by shark doing fine

It's still unknown what exactly bit Isaac O'Hara from Walkersville, MD. But his family is still adamant a shark is what left a 4-inch long and 2-inch deep bite marks on his leg.

Saturday afternoon while swimming in the ocean in the Cherry Grove neighborhood near 57th Avenue North, North Myrtle Beach officials say some sort of marine life bit Isaac.

But after looking at pictures of the bite marks, Coastal Carolina University Marine Biologist and shark expert, Dr. Dan Abel, agrees with the family.

"The child got bitten and not attacked, there's a distinction between the two, by what it looks like to be a medium sized black tip shark," said Abel. "A shark that immediately released when it recognized that it wasn't going after a person, and it was a case of mistaken identity."

"He's in good spirits," said the 5-year-old boy's grandfather, Tom Gilbert. "He came out to the beach for a bit yesterday, and he's ready to get back in the water again."

Isaac's family pushed him to the beach yesterday in a wheel chair, said Gilbert.

"He's tried to put some weight on it, but it's pretty painful for him right now."

Isaac is taking antibiotics for his bites, said Gilbert. Doctors stitched Isaac's wounds Saturday.

"We can't say for sure it was a shark that bit the young boy," said North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling. "But we do know that bluefish also bite people sometimes and leave similar marks as the boy had."

But Abel says a bluefish attack is nearly impossible. "Bluefish bite doesn't look like that. It would have to be an awfully bizarre bluefish for that to be a bluefish bite," said Abel. "Sherlock Holmes says as you eliminate everything else what you're left with is the obvious conclusion."

The boy's family has vacationed in the Myrtle Beach area for nearly 30 years, said Gilbert. He said his family will still visit the Grand Strand again.

"We won't let this sway us away from coming back," said Gilbert.