Successive Shark Bite Incidents Have Caused Some Florida Beaches to Close

Successive Shark Bite Incidents Have Caused Some Florida Beaches to Close.

Shark bite incidents cause some Florida beaches to close.

Two shark bite incidents occurred in Walton County, Florida, within 90 minutes of each other, leaving three victims injured.

The first attack left a 45-year-old woman with major trauma and the amputation of her left arm while swimming with her husband in Watersound.

Following these incidents, beaches in the surrounding areas have been closed to the public, and officials are working with experts to understand the unusual occurrence of two shark attacks in the afternoon.

On Friday, waters off Walton County, Florida, were closed after back-to-back shark bite incidents.

Both incidents occurred in Walton County — located in the Florida Panhandle — and not near a boat, but officials are unclear how far the attacks occurred from land, said Mackenzie McClintock, a spokesman for the South Walton Fire District.

South Walton Fire District Chief Ryan Crawford said the two incidents happened about 4 miles apart within about 90 minutes. There were three victims in total.

During an evening news conference, Crawford said it was "very unusual" for two bite incidents to occur in the afternoon.

A 45-year-old woman was injured in the first "reported shark incident." It happened in the water around 1:20 p.m. in the Founders Way area of ​​Watersound Beach, Crawford and the Walton County Sheriff's Office said.

Crawford said the woman was swimming with her husband past the first sandbar when the sting occurred.

Crawford stated: "She suffered significant trauma to her midsection and pelvic area, in addition to the amputation of her left lower arm."

The woman was taken to a medical center in critical condition, Crawford said.

She was in stable condition Saturday, said Elizabeth Eilber, a spokeswoman for HCA Fort Walton Destin Hospital.

After the first attack, the police officers said that beaches in the surrounding areas raised double red flags to indicate danger. The bay in the Walton County area was also closed to the public at the time.

Shortly after, at 2:56 p.m., the Sheriff's Office and Fire Department responded to a second shark incident in the Sandy Shores Court area off Seacrest Beach in Walton County.

Crawford said there were two victims in this attack: two girls between the ages of 15 and 17.

They were with a group of friends "inside the first sandbar," making the location "very similar" to the first attack, Crawford said.

The first victim suffered "serious injuries" to an upper extremity and lower extremity, Crawford said. She was taken to the trauma center in critical condition.

The second victim suffered "flesh wounds" to her right foot and was in stable condition, Crawford said.

Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson said the two women who were seriously injured had a "fighting chance" thanks to quick responses from nearby citizens as well as first responders.

Adkinson said officials contacted experts at Mote Marine, out of Sarasota, Florida, to see if there was anything "anomalous" about the dual attacks, though he did not believe there was.

McClintock said officials do not know what type of shark bit the two victims, but sharks are often found in these waters.

After the second attack, officials closed the water to the public throughout Walton County. The waters reopened Saturday with a red flag indicating high surf and strong current and a purple flag for stinging marine life.

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