NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – A 13-year-old boy was bitten by a shark at Neptune Beach near the Lemon Street end zone around 3:45 p.m. Sunday officials said.
The boy was in the water with his father on a surfboard when the shark bit him on his right calf. They immediately got out of the water and told the lifeguards.
WITNESS VIDEO: Moments after shark bite
Ocean Rescue was able to bandage up the boy quickly and got the bleeding under control. He suffered severe lacerations and was taken to UF Health Jacksonville where he is in stable condition.
“He was screaming ‘it hurts, it hurts’ and we could just see the trail of blood leading over here,” said Heidin Perez, who was at the beach during the attack.
Perez said the boy asked rescuers not to put pressure on his leg because it was so painful.
Officials told News4Jax that based on the boy’s bite marks, they think the shark is about 5 feet long.
“Judging by the bite, it looked to be 7-8 inches wide, so it could have been anywhere from 4-5 feet, maybe even larger,” said Captain Richmond Banks of Neptune Beach Ocean Rescue.
“There are about 6 or 7 species that are very common and this would include the sharp nose shark, the black tip shark, the spinner, these are the most abundant sharks within our region,” said Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, a shark expert at the University of North Florida.
Officials closed the beach shortly after the attack.
“We closed it down for a little while. Once 45 minutes had passed, we took the guards back off that detail and let people go back into the water,” said Capt. Banks.
Capt. Banks told News4Jax shark bites are rare for Neptune Beach.
“Probably about 15 years or more since the last time we had what we think was a shark bite,” said Capt. Banks. “A man was bit on the foot and it looked like it was a small shark.”
Neptune Beach Police said there was a large crowd of people in the water when the shark was spotted.
“I was thinking maybe a stingray or something like that, but they came around telling everyone it was a shark bite and they wanted people to stay out of the water in this area,” said beachgoer Sam McMath.
Ocean Rescue officials say if you’re swimming and little fish start jumping around you, it’s time to move out of that area.
“Those are feeder pools. Usually in feeder pools there are bigger fish looking to feed, and in some cases unfortunate things like this could happen,” Capt. Banks.
“This is a time when our sharks become more abundant in our local waters that occurs in May and the animals peak in abundance around June and July,” said Dr. Gelsleichter.
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