Tourists warned after Florida shark attacks

By Travel Gossip Reporters
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Tourists are being warned to exercise extreme caution along a popular stretch of Florida beach after three people were injured in two separate shark attacks.

The attacks happened just four miles apart in Walton County on the Gulf Coast last Friday (7 June).

The first victim – a 45-year-old woman – was swimming near a sandbar near WaterSound Beach around 1.15pm when she was attacked. She needed life-saving surgery after losing the lower part of her left arm and suffering a severe bite to her midsection and pelvis.

Just 90 minutes later, two teenage girls were attacked in waist-deep water along the coast at Seacrest Beach. One of the victims suffered significant injuries to the upper leg and one hand, while the other escaped with minor injuries on one foot. While the two most seriously injured beachgoers were reportedly in a critical condition, they are both expected to survive.

In an update on social media, the South Walton Fire District said: “We encourage all of our beach patrons to be situationally aware in the water, swim near a lifeguard, stay hydrated, and look out for each other.

“Please do not underestimate the open water and any of the marine life that could be present. As we move forward from Friday’s incidents we continue to wish the best for the families and all involve, including the bystanders who selflessly rendered aid.”

South Walton’s white-sand beaches are situated around 45 miles east of Pensacola on the Emerald Coast in Northwest Florida. The region lists tourism is its main industry, with visitors attracted to locations used in the filming of hit movie The Truman Show.

While the risk of being attacked by a shark is extremely low, Florida tops the charts for the number of shark bites. Last year Florida had 16 unprovoked shark bite incidents, representing 23% of worldwide attacks.

Experts investigating last week’s incidents say bull sharks are most likely species to be responsible, and have not ruled out the possibility that the same animal was involved in both attacks.

Image credit: South Walton Fire District

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