Teen surfer recalls shark attack off New Jersey coast: 'It pulled me down a little bit'
STONE HARBOR, N.J. - A local girl is recovering from what officials believe to be a shark bite she suffered while surfing along the Jersey coast days before beachgoers head to the water for the unofficial start of summer.
Maggie Drozdowski, 15, said she was surfing with a friend off the beach near 109th Street in Stone Harbor when she felt something wrap around her foot and try to tug her under.
"I felt something around my foot, and it pulled me down a little bit," Maggie said. "I shook my leg as hard as I could to get it off, but it just wouldn't."
Maggie credits her 3 millimeter wetsuit for giving her enough protection to keep the suspected shark from inflicting much more serious injuries.
"I went over the wave and she went under it, she screamed and I turned around because I thought she was drowning or something, but she got up and she said ‘I think something bit me," said Sarah O’Donnell, a friend who was with Maggie during the attack.
Medics were called to the beach and rushed Maggie to Cape May Regional Medical Center for treatment that included six stitches. Wildlife officials are unsure the size or species that may have attacked her.
"I'm just in shock, I just thought that wouldn't be something that would ever happen to me because I watched all the Jaws movies and stuff, and I thought it was a joke," Maggie said.
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According to the University of Florida, shark attacks worldwide are rare. Out of the 41 unprovoked shark attacks last year, only one resulted in a fatality. The last unprovoked shark attack in New Jersey was off the coast of Ventnor in 2017.
Data from the University of Florida shows that shark attacks worldwide are infrequent, and deadly attacks are even more rare. Of the 41 unprovoked shark attacks recorded last year, only one resulted in a fatality.
The last unprovoked shark attack in New Jersey was off the coast of Ventnor in 2017.