A girl was seriously injured Thursday when she was attacked by a shark on a Florida beach, authorities said, continuing a chilling trend in the state that accounts for nearly 40% of unprovoked shark bites globally . Taylor County Sheriff Wayne Padgett told CBS affiliate WCTV the girl had surgery and lost her leg, but is expected to survive.
The attack happened at Keaton Beach in northwest Florida. The girl was scalding in water about 5 feet deep near Grassy Island, just off Keaton Beach, when she was bitten by the shark, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office said in A press release.
One of the girl’s family members allegedly jumped into the water and beat her until she was free, officials said.
The girl was airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare to receive treatment for the injuries, the sheriff’s office said.
“It’s a tragedy, what happened,” Sheriff Padgett told WCTV.
Officials said it was undetermined what type of shark attacked the girl, but witnesses described it as about nine feet long.
“Boaters and swimmers are warned to be alert, vigilant and to practice shark safety,” the sheriff’s office said. “Some rules to follow are: never swim alone, don’t enter the water near anglers, avoid areas such as sandbars (where sharks like to congregate), don’t swim near large schools of fish and avoid erratic movements in the water.”
Shark attacks increased worldwide in 2021 after three consecutive years of decline, according to ain January. The United States again reported the highest number of attacks, and Florida recorded nearly 40% of unprovoked bites worldwide.
Florida has led the United States and the rest of the world in unprovoked shark bites for decades, and the trend has continued in 2021, researchers said. Florida recorded 28 unprovoked bites last year, compared to 19 in the rest of the United States and 26 total outside the United States. Florida’s 28 cases accounted for 60% of the US total and 38% of unprovoked bites worldwide.
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