AFTER a Thai-Ukrainian boy was bitten while swimming at Kamala beach in Phuket yesterday (May 1) experts visited him and have ascertained it was a shark bite with signs being put up to warn tourists and beach guards sent in to assist them, Sanook.com said today.
Phuket Deputy Governor Mr. Phichet Panaphong together with Dr. Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, chief of Phuket Marine and Biological Centre, and Mr. David Martin, a French underwater photographer and shark expert, met the eight-year-old boy at a restaurant opposite Phuket Mission Hospital where doctors had closed the wounds on his thigh and a toe with 30 stitches.
Phechet said the young boy had related that he was swimming about a hundred metres from Kamala beach where the seawater was less than a metre deep when he was attacked.
Where assistance is concerned, as the boy and his family are residents of Phuket and not tourists they are not entitled to special compensation with his mother fully understanding this, he added.
“From now on, there will be beach guards to supervise tourists swimming in the sea. At the same time, warning signs must be put up and towers placed to watch over them when this type of marine animal comes close to the coast. We could also use drones but in the end, the best way is to warn tourists,” the Phuket deputy governor said.
Dr. Kongkiat said initially two types of sharks are suspected in this attack – blue shark and blacktip shark – but it is the latter that has been found in Kamala beach.
However Martin pointed out that it is very unlikely that the blacktip shark bit the boy with the violence in the attack indicating it was a blue shark.
Although the species cannot be confirmed, the wound was definitely caused by a shark bite, he added.
Martin mentioned that the blue shark, which grows to three metres in length, is not vicious and does not harm humans as it usually feeds on smaller marine life such as squid, shrimp, sea urchins and sea turtles. But this attack might have occurred through a mistake in identifying its prey.
The blue shark is able to swim in coastal and murky waters despite having weak eyesight because it has a radar at the tip of its nose to sharply recognise what is moving in front of it, Martin said, while confirming that Kamala and other Phuket beaches are safe from attacks by sharks and other marine animals.
Phuket experts talking to the boy bitten by a shark and inspecting Kamala beach. Photos: Sanook.com