Paddleboarder Believes He Was Bitten by Shark Off Chesapeake Bay

"After it grabbed my leg, I saw something flippin' around"

A Maryland man jumped into water near the Chesapeake Bay Wednesday night and was bitten. He thinks the culprit was a shark. 

But officials say they don't know yet what could have bitten him. 

Chris Bowen is no stranger to the waters of Edgewater, Maryland, just south of Annapolis. He often goes out on a paddleboard, into the Rhode River and out into the Chesapeake Bay.

Around dinnertime Wednesday, he took out his paddleboard, like he has done for years. Then he felt something.

"I was out paddleboarding. I went all the way down that way, all the way up that way, then I was coming back in and jumped off, and that's when it happened," he said. 

Bowen felt something latch on to the inside of his left calf. 

"All I saw is, after it grabbed my leg, I saw something flippin' around. Didn't even know what it was at the time," he said. 

He didn't get a good look at what bit him. When he got out of the water, he saw a jagged slash on his leg, complete with teeth marks. 

Bowen called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. They said they can't say yet, based on the photo of Bowen's wound, what could have bitten him. But sharks have been spotted in the Chesapeake Bay, spokesman Gregg Bortz said. 

"According to our biologists, it is possible for a shark to be in the Rhode River area," he said in an email. "The majority of modern Maryland sightings and captures in the Chesapeake are in the lower bay, including Tangier Sound and St. Mary's County, but historically they have been reported farther north."

Resident Janice Long said she was worried enough that she'll keep her dogs out of the water for a while.

"It's almost unbelievable. But the bite sure does say, possibly a shark," she said. 

But Bowen said he's not scared. 

"I'll be out here tonight," he said a day after the bite. "What's the chance it's gonna happen twice?"

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