Sharks bite two swimmers in Florida Keys in two days

  • Two trips in the Florida Keys ended with men being treated for shark bites
  • A girl was bitten off Florida's eastern coast earlier this month
  • Experts say shark bites are rare; 41 unprovoked attacks occurred in 2022

MIAMI (NewsNation) — Three shark encounters have occurred this month Florida, including two in the Florida Keys, sparking concerns from experts ahead of a busy Memorial Day weekend when millions are expected to flock to the state’s beaches.

“People are spending much more time in the water and sharks are present in our coastal waters year-round, increasing the risk that sharks and people might find each other and interact,” said Dr. Catherine MacDonald, director of the Shark Research and Conservation Program at the University of Miami.

A shark in the Florida Keys bit the foot of a fisherman who had reeled it in May 19, sending the man to the hospital, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday.

The 35-year-old man was fishing off a dock in Summerland Key when he caught the shark Friday night. While it was on the dock, it bit him in the foot, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The angler was flown by a trauma helicopter to a hospital in Miami. 

Just the day before, a fishing trip nearly turned deadly off the coast of Marathon, Florida when Kevin Blanco was bitten by a shark. The shark latched onto his leg.

He’s still recovering in the hospital and has a long road to heal, but he said he still wants to get back on the water once he does.

Meanwhile, Ella Reed, a Florida teen shark bite survivor, is still on the mend – after being bitten by a shark May 11 in Fort Pierce, Florida.

“I tried blocking it with my arm and my hand and kind of slipped and got my hand and my finger and swooped around and got my leg again,” Reed explained.

Experts say shark bites like in these incidents are rare. There were 41 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. in 2022, and 16 of those were in Florida, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.

About a dozen of the more than 300 species of sharks in the world have been involved in attacks on humans, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

If you encounter a shark, experts say do your best to avoid it and not panic, and if a shark latches on to you, try to punch it in the gills.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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