FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – A 12-year-old girl was bitten by a shark on Sunday afternoon at Seaside Park in Fernandina Beach, according to the Fernandina Beach Fire Department.
The report from the Fire Department said the girl was standing in 4 feet of water shortly after 2:30 p.m. when a 4- to 5-foot shark attacked her.
The Fire Department said the teen suffered minor cuts on her right foot and ankle. Her injuries were described as non-life-threatening.
Lifeguards closed the water to swimmers after they found out about the incident. As of 5:30 p.m., the water was back open.
“Everybody was like, ‘You can’t get in the water,’” said Kristi Howard, who was at the beach right after the shark attack. “It was ambulances and everybody was videoing. It was chaos.”
Ocean Rescue Supervisor Haynes Cavender said sharks are typical for the area year-round, especially around dusk and dawn.
“They can come up almost all the way to the shore. You can see their fins out of the water,” Cavender said.
But Sunday’s attack was in the middle of the day, and the shark may have been disoriented in water churned up by wave action.
“Yesterday’s incident, the shark got trapped between the sandbar and the shore at the trough,” Cavender said. “So it’s just really around trying to find its way back out to the ocean.”
Ocean Rescue encourages beachgoers to not wear shiny jewelry because the reflected light looks like shining fish scales to marine animals. It’s also important to swim in front of a lifeguard and check the flag for conditions.
According to News4Jax records, Sunday’s shark bite was the first of 2021 in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia waters.
The International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida has a county-by-county total for “confirmed unprovoked” attacks since 1882. Volusia is No. 1 with 320.
|Coastal counties in Northeast Florida||“Confirmed unprovoked” attacks|