TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A 17-year-old girl was seriously injured in a shark attack on a Florida beach Thursday, officials say.
First responders from Taylor County were called to assist a person who had been bitten by a shark while scalloping in approximately five feet of water near Grassy Island in Keaton Beach.
The shark was only described as being about nine feet long.
According to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office and a statement from the girl’s family, she was saved when her older brother jumped into the water and physically fought the shark away from her.
The girl’s brother, identified as Taylor County Firefighter and EMT himself, worked with several boaters in the area to apply a tourniquet to the girl’s injury and control the bleeding until she could be flown to Tallahassee Memorial Care which had the only available Level II Trauma Center in the region.
According to TMH, the girl suffered “devastating” damage to the soft tissue of her right leg, but is expected to survive the attack.
She underwent emergency surgery on her leg intended to help restore blood flow. She’s scheduled for a second surgery Saturday to determine the exact extent of the damage.
“Swimmers and scallopers are cautioned to be alert, vigilant, and practice shark safety,” the sheriff’s office added to their report on the incident. “Some rules to follow are: never swim alone, do not enter the water near fishermen, avoid areas such as sandbars, do not swim near large schools of fish, and avoid erratic movements while in the water.
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