BREAKING: Woman Attacked By Shark Off UK Coast
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The UK's coastguard has said they believe a snorkeler was bitten by a shark in the first attack in British waters since 1847.
The female victim was swimming off the coast of Cornwall on a snorkelling trip to see blue sharks when the incident took place last Thursday (28 July).
She was rescued by the coastguard and left in the care of paramedics, with the HM Coastguard confirming this week her injury was caused by a suspected shark bite.
In a statement announcing the news, a spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "HM Coastguard sent Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team to meet a snorkeller who suffered a suspected shark bite.
"The coastguard was notified just before 12.30pm on Thursday (July 28). It is believed the swimmer suffered a leg injury. The coastguard team met the casualty at Penzance harbour to assist with passing them into the care of the ambulance service."
The coastguard did not offer any further details on the type of shark thought to have been involved in the attack, but a post on the British Sea Fishing website notes that attacks by blue sharks, which the woman was looking for on her trip, are 'extremely rare' but have been recorded in the past.
The post continues: "In total, on a world-wide basis, there are four confirmed cases of fatal blue shark attacks on humans with twenty-five confirmed non-fatal attacks.
"In August 2012 a beach in Ceredigion, Wales was closed to bathers due to the presence of a blue shark.
"The shark was spotted swimming in between boats and came very close to the shore, swimming past tourists in just a few feet of water.
"Later in the same month another beach in West Dorset had to be closed for an hour and a half due to another blue shark."
According to Discovery, there are more than 20 species of sharks that remain in UK waters all year round.
They are most likely to dwell in the waters off Devon and Cornwall and up the west coast, and include the smooth hammerhead shark, the blue shark, the thresher shark, the shortfin mako shark and the porbeagle shark.
Other types of sharks in the UK include species of dogfish and catshark, frilled shark, bramble sharks, kitefin sharks, gulper sharks, spurdogs, topes and the starry smooth-hound shark.
The coastguard has not offered any updates on the snorkeler's condition in the days since the attack.