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Shark bites man who was boating off Florida coast, leaving him in critical condition

Shark Tourism
Posted at 7:48 PM, Jun 29, 2024

(CNN) — A shark attack off Florida’s east coast left a man aboard a boat with a “severe bite to his right arm” on Friday, according to authorities.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit found the victim with a critical injury when they responded to the shark attack at about 11:15 a.m. local time, the sheriff’s office said in a social media post. The shark bit the man’s forearm and he was losing blood, authorities said.

“Acting swiftly, a deputy boarded the vessel and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding,” the sheriff’s office said. “The deputy then piloted the boat to the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp, where Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue was waiting.”

The man was then airlifted to a local hospital for treatment. While he is in critical condition, he is expected to recover, the sheriff’s office said.

The incident comes after two separate shark attacks within just 90 minutes of each other left three people injured at neighboring Walton County, Florida, beaches earlier this month.

Shark activity is typically at its peak in Florida waters between April and October, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“Yet shark bites still remain very rare,” the commission said. “Humans are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning in Florida than to be bitten by a shark. Experts agree that the increase in the number of shark bites in recent years is more related to an increase in human visitors than to an increase in shark populations or activity.”

In Florida, shark bites are fatal less than 1% of the time, according to the commission.

“Experts believe that most shark bites are cases of mistaken identity, which explains why nearly all shark bites that occur in Florida waters are of a bite-and-release nature,” the commission said.

While the risk of being bitten by a shark is extremely low, Florida tops global charts for the number of shark bites, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s annual shark attack report.

In 2023, Florida had 16 unprovoked shark bite incidents reported, which represents 44% of the United States total and 23% worldwide. Volusia County had the most shark bites, and the others were reported in Brevard, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Escambia and Pinellas counties. There were no fatalities reported last year in the state as a result of the attacks.

Nassau County is located on Florida’s east coast, near the Florida-Georgia border.