Keaton Beach shark attack leads to 15-year-old teen girl losing a leg in 5ft of water while scalloping off Florida’s Grassy Island.
A teenage girl lost her leg after being attacked by a shark while she was scalloping in five-foot-deep water along a Florida beach. The 15-year-old survived the unprovoked attack after a family member jumped in and beat the predator off her.
The victim, who has not been identified, was attacked near Grassy Island, off Keaton Beach in Taylor County, Thursday afternoon, circa 3 pm.
Her injuries were so severe she had to be airlifted to a hospital in Tallahassee, about 80 miles northwest of Keaton Beach, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
She had surgery and is expected to survive, Taylor County Sheriff Wayne Padgett told CBS News.
The young woman was scalloping in waters that officials said were approximately 5 feet deep when she was bit by the shark. It was unclear what type of shark it was. Officials believe that the shark may have been up to 9ft long.
Florida accounts for 40% of unprovoked shark attacks worldwide
The sheriff’s office said ‘swimmers and scallopers are cautioned to be alert, vigilant, and practice shark safety.’
Critical rules beachgoers need to follow include is to never swim alone. Not to enter the waters near fishermen, notably sandbars, where sharks often like to congregate.
Swimmers are also advised not to swim near large schools of fish, and to avoid erratic movements while in the water.
Florida has topped the global charts for for shark bites and accounts for nearly 40 percent of unprovoked shark bites worldwide, according to The International Shark File (ISAF).
Shark attacks increased around the world in 2021 following three consecutive years of decline, according to a report released in January. The U.S. once again reported the most attacks, and Florida accounted for nearly 40% of unprovoked bites worldwide.
Florida has led the U.S. and the rest of the world in unprovoked shark bites for decades, and the trend continued in 2021, researchers said. Florida had 28 unprovoked bites last year, compared to 19 in the rest of the U.S. and 26 total outside the U.S. Florida’s 28 cases represented 60% of the U.S. total and 38% of unprovoked bites worldwide.
Unprovoked attacks occur when there is no human provocation. Provoked attacks are defined as when humans initiate contact, such as divers trying to touch a shark or fishermen removing a shark from a fishing net, according to the International Shark Attack File.