2 people injured in apparent shark attacks at same Florida beach

Fernandina Beach in Florida was shut down to swimming after two shark attacks on Friday, July 13, 2018.PlayWJXX
WATCH Tips to Survive a Shark Attack

Two people were injured in what appear to be separate shark attacks at the same beach in Florida on Friday.

The two attacks happened just three minutes apart in Fernandina Beach, Florida, according to the city's fire department. While neither person who was bit could definitively say they were attacked by sharks, the fire department described them as "alleged shark bite incidents."

The first attack happened at about 3:35 p.m., and the second at about 3:38 p.m. about 1.2 miles farther south.

Fernandina Beach in Florida was shut down to swimming after two shark attacks on Friday, July 13, 2018.WJXX
Fernandina Beach in Florida was shut down to swimming after two shark attacks on Friday, July 13, 2018.

"Both patients are reportedly stable, with non-life-threatening injuries," the Fernandina Beach Fire Department said in a press release. "Neither patient could advise what type or size of marine life had caused their respective injuries."

The two people bitten were a 17-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man, according to Jacksonville ABC affiliate WJXX.

"He yelled, he like went down and he started hopping and he looked over at me and goes, 'I got bit, I got bit,' he started motioning toward the beach," eyewitness Tia Walker told WJXX of the 30-year-old, who was bit first.

"I was like, 'Holy crap, there’s a shark.'"

One of the victims, Dustin Theobald, told ABC News that he was lying on a surfboard in about 2 feet of water, watching his son paddle out on a board, when he felt something grab onto his foot.

"It pulled. And twisted left and then right and jerked really hard," Theobald said. "[I] reached back to my foot and I guess grabbed its head. It happened really fast. I guess I grabbed its head, he let go.

"He went one way and I went the other."

Theobald said he never expected something like that to happen to him -- "on Friday the 13th, no less."

"I have some torn tendons on the top of my foot. Right now, they left the wound open to clear out any bacteria or infection or anything like that," Theobald said. "They're pumping me with antibiotics. Once all the cultures come back negative, they're going to sew me up... probably Monday or Tuesday."

Authorities said the Division of Ocean Rescue was monitoring for "dangerous marine life" and that swimming was prohibited "until further notice."

A truck from the sheriff's department was filmed by a beach-goer announcing swimmers should exit the ocean.

"There's a shark in the water that has already bit two people, please exit the water," an official can be heard announcing.

Comments