The teen’s brother fought off the shark and pulled his sister onto a nearby boat, according to the family.
TAYLOR COUNTY, Fla. — A 17-year-old girl was hospitalized with serious injuries after being attacked by a 9-foot shark on a Florida beach, according to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.
It happened Thursday on Keaton Beach, about an hour and a half southeast of Tallahassee.
MPs say the teenager, named Addison Bethea, was scalloped in about 5ft of water near Grassy Island when she was bitten. In a statement, the girl’s family later said she was bitten twice, with the shark primarily attacking her right thigh.
“She tried to poke it in the eye and hit it but it wouldn’t come off,” they wrote.
Then a family member “allegedly jumped into the water and hit the shark until the youth was free,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.
That family member was Addison’s brother Rhett, who the family says is a first responder/firefighter. He reportedly fended off the shark and dragged his sister into a nearby boat.
“Rhett put a tourniquet on her to minimize blood loss from the massive injury and kept her awake, which ultimately saved her life,” the statement said.
The species of the attacking shark was unclear but was described as about 9 feet long.
The girl was flown to a Tallahassee hospital with serious injuries. According to the family, her leg underwent emergency treatment but “there is unreal damage to her thigh area.”
The family say doctors are monitoring Addison’s leg every day to determine what treatment is needed. However, she “woke up in a good mood and joked about spanking the shark.”
In an update Friday night, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare said Addison had “devastating damage to her right leg.”
“She will undergo a second operation on Saturday, July 2 to further assess the extent of the damage to her leg and to determine what treatment options are available to salvage her leg,” the hospital system said in a Facebook -Post.
“She’s been through more than I could ever have imagined, but she’s a soldier. Please pray for her and the difficulties of her days to come. She’s far from out of the woods but she’s alive and that’s the most important thing to us,” the family wrote.
In 2021, Florida had the most unprovoked shark bites in the United States, with a total of 28, according to the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File. Hawaii had the second-highest total with just six reported unprovoked bites.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that while the chances of being bitten by a shark are extremely small, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. This includes swimming in groups, removing shiny jewelry, and avoiding the water if you’re bleeding from an open wound.
Florida’s shark population includes species ranging from just a few feet to 40 feet in length, with none of them looking to humans as a food source, according to the FWC. Wildlife experts believe most shark attacks are cases of mistaken identity, which is why most of them “bite and let go.”
https://www.king5.com/article/life/animals/shark-attack-teen-florida/67-3f6fdd09-241b-467a-bea5-775820f13a35 Florida teen girl attacked by 9-foot shark