Teenage boy home after being bitten by shark at Neptune Beach
Lifeguards honored for their part in rescue
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – A 13-year-old boy who was bitten by a shark at Neptune Beach has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home.
He was bitten by the shark near the Lemon Street end zone around 3:45 p.m. May 29, officials said.
The boy, Alex, 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 Alex quickly and got the bleeding under control. He suffered severe lacerations and was taken to UF Health Jacksonville, where he was 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 Alex asked rescuers not to put pressure on his leg because it was so painful.
The lifeguards who helped rescue Alex were recognized Monday by the Neptune Beach Police Department.
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 Capt. 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 Banks.
Banks told News4Jax that 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 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 said 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,” Banks said.
“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 Gelsleichter.
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