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DAYTONA BEACH -- Sparkling blue waves calmly lapped at the shore late Wednesday afternoon, but after a 13-year-old was bitten by a shark near the Zelda Boulevard beach approach, many people nervously made their way out of the water.

Nichole Carlos of Jupiter was visiting Daytona Beach with Sherri Breen and her daughter when she was bitten by an unknown type of shark about 6 p.m.

Nichole suffered a cut on the back of her hand and had bite marks near her wrist, emergency officials said. She lost some blood when she ran to a nearby hotel where she was staying to get help, Beach Patrol spokesman Scott Petersohn said.

Friends wrapped her hand in a towel and took her back to the beach to find a lifeguard.

Calls to the girl's hotel room were not returned and a knock at the door was not answered Wednesday night.

Nichole was taken by ambulance to Halifax Medical Center in stable condition, EVAC spokesman Mark O'Keefe said.

Wednesday's incident was the third confirmed shark bite in the area this summer.

Petersohn encouraged beachgoers to go directly to a lifeguard if they are injured. Most shark bites are not life threatening and should be treated by medical personnel, he said. Nichole was only in about 3 feet of water when she was bitten, the same depth most swimmers wade in, Petersohn said.

The combination of warm water and bait fish brings more sharks to the area, Beach Patrol officials said. When bait fish swim near the shore, that means there are "all kinds of predators in the area," Petersohn said.

Lifeguards kept the beach open near where the attack occurred late Wednesday. Nobody saw the shark when it attacked and the water seemed to be free of the predators, Petersohn said.

"It's like lightning. You never see it when it strikes," he said.
 
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