(GALVESTON, Texas) -- Marin suffered "significant soft tissue damage to a leg," according to the Galveston County Health District EMS. The attack occurred around 5:30 p.m.
The shark was "probably eating smaller fish when it mistakenly bit into her leg," Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis told ABC News. He referred to the incident as a "bite" rather than an "attack" because the shark did not actively hunt the girl.
However, just one bite on such a small child can do significant damage.
Pirates Beach did not close because of the incident. Davis said the Melton family reported seeing a school of fish swimming around them before spotting a "3 or 4-foot long shark with a white belly."
Davis warned people to stay away from schools of fish while swimming, since they are a food source for shallow-water sharks.
Similarly, "don't swim in the ocean if you're bleeding," said Davis, as sharks can detect small amounts of blood in water. He also recommends "shuffling your feet" so sharks and other sea life can sense the vibration.
South Church Kerrville, where Matthew Grove Melton is a pastor, will host a prayer gathering for the young girl on Friday.
There have been only 17 shark attacks in Galveston in the past 105 years, according to Galveston County Health District EMS. A 6-year-old girl is in stable condition after being bitten by a shark Tuesday near Pirates Beach in Galveston, Texas.
Marin Alice Melton of Kerrville, Texas, "is stable and maintains a gracious, positive attitude," said her father, Matthew Grove Melton, in a Facebook post. "She will be having multiple surgeries," he said, adding that "her vital signs are good."
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.