How Many Shark Attacks Are Fatal? Statistics Show You Can Get Over Your Fear Of The Ocean

Three beach-goers were attacked by sharks on North Carolina beaches in the last week, and luckily none of the attacks were fatal. The U.S. averages about 19 shark attacks each year, according to National Geographic, but it turns out very few people are killed by sharks, both in America and abroad. Sharks should really be more scared of humans than we are of them, considering we kill them at much higher rates than they do us.

On Sunday, two teens were attacked by a shark only 90 minutes apart on a North Carolina beach while swimming in waist-deep water. They both lost an arm in the attacks, but are now in stable condition. One of the victims, 16-year-old Hunter Treschl, spoke out about the attack from his hospital bed in a video released by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Tuesday night. In the video, Treschl explained that he didn't see the shark until it was on his arm. He said: "I felt this kind of big hit on my left leg — like it was a big fish coming near you — and I felt it one more time, and it just kind of hit my arm... That was the first that I saw it, when it was biting up my left arm, kind of, and then it got that off eventually."

CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

Shark attacks are rare, but fatal shark attacks are even less common. On average, about five people are killed by sharks each year, according to National Geographic, and the U.S. averages only one death every two years. In 2014, only three people died from unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, none of which took place in the U.S. Two of last year's fatal incidents were in Australia and the third happened in South Africa. "This total is remarkably low given the billions of human-hours spent in the water each year," says the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) website. According to the ISAF, fatalities have been gradually decreasing over the past decade, due to improvements in beach safety, medical treatment, and public awareness.

Humans actually kill way more sharks than sharks kill people. According to National Geographic, people kill about two million sharks for every human killed by a shark. In fact, 11,417 sharks are killed every hour for their fins (the most profitable part of a shark). When it comes to human vs. shark fatalities, the odds are definitely in our favor, but that doesn't mean we can't still be scared of them.

Images: Getty Images (1)