On Wednesday, August 19, Nicole Stowers became the victim of a shark attack while she was in waist-deep water during a vacation in South Carolina, United States. While in the waters of Grand Strand, she was occupied with keeping an eye on her children when she felt unbearable pain on her arm.

At around 2:15 pm local time the woman was in the water next to her nine and 14-year-old children. She claims that the shark had jumped out of the water completely before biting her. She received emergency medical attention on the beach before being transported to a hospital. Authorities claim that there are very few shark attacks in the area annually, and the attack on Nicole was the first reported attack this year.

The woman from Pittsburgh had been staying at the Myrtle Beach Resort for her family holiday. The family frequently visited Grand Strand for their vacations. This year, their regular trip took a turn for the worst.

Nicole recalled feeling a sharp pain on her arm as if she had been struck by an axe. She looked at her arm and spotted a shark between three and four feet long that had leapt out of the water to bite her bicep. In a flash, the shark dislodged and was gone.

The woman was in significant pain as she was rushing back to the shore with her children. Her husband, Brad Stowers, wrapped a towel around the wound. Lack's Beach Service lifeguards offered first aid to the injured woman and alerted emergency services.

Speaking about her ordeal, Nicole told the Post and Courier that beachgoers surrounded the family and took pictures of her while they waited for an ambulance. The beachgoers were more interested in witnessing the spectacle instead of helping out. Throughout the ordeal, the mother kept trying to assure her children that she was fine.

An ambulance reached the scene in eight minutes and took Nicole to South Strand Hospital. Examination of the injuries proved that she had one clear puncture and multiple lacerations but no bone damage.

Shark expert, Daniel Abel believes that the shark responsible for the attack was a blacktip shark. The Coastal Carolina University professor of marine science pointed out that the quick release was a trademark of the shark species. He said that bull sharks and lemon sharks also frequented the area, but their attack patterns are different from that of the blacktip shark.

Jarratt Lark, director of environmental medicine and an emergency physician for Grand Strand Health, pointed out that three to four shark attacks were reported in the area annually.

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
Blacktip shark believed to have leapt out of water and bitten woman. (representational image) Greg Lecoeur/ UPY 2016