COCOA BEACH, Fla. - A young boy suffered severe injuries when he was bitten by a shark in Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Fire Rescue officials said.
The child, who officials said was about 10 or 11 years old, was bitten just after 11 a.m. near Lori Wilson Park Sunday and was taken to an Orlando hospital via helicopter as a trauma alert patient.
“Our lifeguard spotted the victim in the water when he saw he seemed to be in distress. He ran out there, saw that he had been bit, carried him out of the water and immediately performed emergency aid,” said Brevard Ocean Rescue Assistant Chief Eisen Witcher.
A witness said she saw the shark seconds before it bit the boy twice in the calf.
“My daughter and I were way out on a surfboard and two big waves came in. On the second big wave, we saw what looked to be a juvenile bull shark,” said Stephanie Yelenosky. “About 15 seconds later we saw a group of people in knee-high water and we heard screaming, so we knew that the shark probably had gotten confused or scared and took a bite at somebody.”
The boy suffered a severe laceration to his left calf.
Brevard County lifeguards stopped the bleeding until help arrived.
“It was one of the worst (shark bites) that we’ve seen out here in recent years,” said Witcher.
Yelenosky said the attack won’t keep her out of the water.
“The kid handled it as best as he could. He did great and I think the family did great. The lifeguard and Brevard Fire Rescue did awesome. They were right on top of it,” Yelenosky said. “I’m born and raised in Orlando and this is shark territory. We’re invading them and we try to be as respectful as we can. Accidents happen and that’s all this was. It was an unfortunate accident.”
Beachgoers were kept out of the water for about an hour, and lifeguards flew the double-red flag.
Officials have not released the victim’s name.
The attack marks the fourth shark bite in central Florida this year.
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