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Teen-Ager Recovering After Shark Attack

April 20, 1987

PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) _ A teen-age swimmer whose right arm was bitten off by a shark was recovering at a hospital Monday, as marine experts tried to determine whether the predator was linked to mutilated fish washing ashore.

A 5-foot shark attacked April Dawn Voglino, 16, of Kingsland, biting off her right arm below the shoulder Saturday. She was recovering from surgery Monday in Memorial Medical Center in Corpus Christi, said spokeswoman Helen Persad.

Experts were to report to state and local officials Tuesday on whether they thought the attack was related to the mutilated baby sand sharks, turtles and a large amberjack that washed ashore Sunday.

Ms. Voglino was in chest-deep water near Mustang Island when the shark attacked her. She was swimming with her father, Robert Voglino, who pounded at the shark and carried his daughter ashore after the shark swam away. He was not injured.

Ms. Voglino and her parents had been alone on an isolated beach near Aransas Beach when the attack occurred at about 6 p.m., said Nueces County Commissioner J.P. Luby.

″We’ve had people bitten before, but nothing as major as this,″ Luby said. ″If there is a school of sharks in the area, I want to know about it,″ he said, adding that experts have told him the girl may have been attacked by a black-tip shark.

Luby, whose precinct covers 21 1/2 miles of beach, said the attack was probably an isolated case, and he did not order the beaches closed.

Andre Landry, a fish behavior expert from Texas A&M University at Galveston, said 13 to 15 shark attacks have been documented along the Texas coast in the past 100 years.

″We have one incident happening like this and this arouses the concern of bathers, but it’s a freak occurrence, something that should not induce fear among the bathing populace,″ Landry said.

Sharks swim in shallow waters to raise their young this time of year, he said.

Luby said about about 150,000 people enjoyed the 30-mile stretch of beaches in the area over the Easter weekend.

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