World: New island appears off North Carolina

A new island has appeared off the coast of North Carolina but people have been warned not to swim there because of the threat of sharks and rip currents.

The sandbar, nicknamed Shelly Island because of its abundance of seashells and pebbles, emerged from the sea in April and has now grown in size to about a mile long and 145 metres wide.

The spit of land cannot be reached on foot and swimmers have been told to stay away because of the potential dangers.

Shelly Island is just off the tip of Cape Point in Buxton and there are sharks and stingrays in the area.

The narrow 15 metre-wide strip of water between the island and the mainland has also formed a “river” that creates a strong rip current, say experts.

Bill Smith, president of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, told the Virginian-Pilot: “We’re worried about shark bites, but we’re more worried about drownings.”

There could also be hooks from decades of fishing lurking just below the sand. Cape Point is a constantly changing spit of sand of about 100 acres. Sometimes the tip points south and sometimes it points north.

The land shrinks and expands depending on currents and storms and the same forces were likely to have formed the sandbar, according to experts.

Shelly Island could shrink or even disappear by next year, or it could expand and connect to the point.


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