Shark Attacks Hit Florida Coast, 4 Miles Apart

Walton County incidents injure 2 teens and a woman, who had part of her arm amputated
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2024 8:00 AM CDT
Shark Attacks Hit Florida Coast, 4 Miles Apart
Stock photo of a bull shark.   (Getty Images/izanbar)

Three people in Walton County, Florida, were attacked by sharks Friday within a couple of hours of each other, including two teens. South Walton Fire District Chief Ryan Crawford tells ABC News that around 1:20pm local time, a 45-year-old woman was swimming near a sandbar with her husband off the beach in Watersound when she was mauled, sustaining "significant trauma" to her midsection and pelvic area. Her left lower arm was amputated, and she was last listed in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

About 90 minutes later, two teen girls, ages 15 and 17, were attacked near a sandbar in waist-deep water at Seacrest Beach, about 4 miles from the first attack, Crawford notes. One girl sustained "significant injuries" to her upper leg and hand, per CNN. She was said to be in critical condition at a local hospital. The second girl had just minor injuries on her foot. Authorities are quite sure the same shark was responsible for both incidents. "We're 100% confident that this was done by a shark," Walton County Sheriff's Office rep Corey Dobridnia tells USA Today. "It's within a very short distance, it's most likely going to be the same shark."

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr. told reporters that orders were issued after the first attack to close down local beaches, but those instructions hadn't yet reached Seacrest Beach when the second attack took place, per ABC. He added that the last shark attack in the county was three years ago, with the last shark-tied fatality in 2005. Walton County officials are working with marine life experts to investigate what Adkinson calls an "anomaly" set of attacks; officials will determine if the beaches can be opened Saturday after speaking to those experts. Police suspect the perp was a bull shark. (More shark attack stories.)

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