Teen girl loses leg after shark attack at Florida beach

A teenage girl enjoying a day in the sun lost her leg after a shark attack in the waters off a Florida beach, police said.

The incident unfolded around 3 p.m. Thursday at Keaton Beach in northwestern Florida, about 75 miles outside of Tallahassee. According to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, the unidentified teen was scalloping near Glassy Island in water about 5 feet deep when she bitten by a shark.

“A family member reportedly jumped in the water and beat the shark until the juvenile was free,” authorities said in the statement.

The girl suffered “serious injuries” and had to be airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, where she remained Friday in critical condition.

“It’s a tragedy, what’s happened,” Sheriff Wayne Padgett told WCTV.

Shark attacks spiked worldwide in 2021 after three straight years of decline, though the lower numbers have been linked to lockdowns and restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.

The latest attack comes just more than a week after a swimmer was bitten by a shark off the coast of California on June 22.

“Swimmers and scallopers are cautioned to be alert, vigilant, and practice shark safety,” police said.

“Some rules to follow are: never swim alone, do not enter the water near fishermen, avoid areas such as sandbars (where sharks like to congregate), do not swim near large schools of fish, and avoid erratic movements while in the water.”

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