Teen punches shark to escape attack off Florida coast

A shark estimated to be 5 feet long attacked the teen.

ByABC News
April 3, 2017, 7:58 PM

— -- A teenager from Kentucky punched a shark as it bit her while she was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Destin, Florida, authorities said.

Caitlyn Taylor, 17, from Louisville, Kentucky, sustained six puncture wounds from the shark bite, but was able to fend off the shark, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Tracey Taylor, Caitlyn's mother, told ABC News affiliate KBMT-TV that her daughter was in Florida with her high school softball team during her school's spring break when the incident took place.

"Caitlyn says she turned around and the head of it was coming toward her with a wave and she said she turned to swim back to shore and she says she felt it just grab her and lift her off of the bottom," Taylor told KBMT-TV.

"She has cuts on her hand and upper and lower jaw marks on both legs," Taylor said, adding that her daughter had to get "120 to 140 stitches."

Witnesses told authorities that a 5-foot-long shark bit Caitlyn while she was about waist deep in the water on Sunday afternoon. Caitlyn told authorities that she initially thought it was a dolphin swimming in the water beside her, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said.

The sheriff's department said they have not determined what type of shark attacked Caitlyn.

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