DESTIN, Fla. (AP/WKRG) – Authorities say a teenager from Kentucky was bitten by a shark in the waters off Florida’s Panhandle.
WKRG reports the 17-year-old girl, Caitlyn Taylor, was bitten Sunday afternoon.
Sgt. Jason Fulghum of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said the girl suffered puncture bite wounds to her right leg and scrapes on her left leg. He said it wasn’t clear what kind of shark bit her.
Authorities said the girl from Louisville, Kentucky, was visiting Destin with her high school softball team.
Taylor suffered six puncture wounds from a shark bite, but was able to punch the shark as it was biting her to try to drive it away.
Emergency personnel said Caitlyn had scrape wounds on her left leg and puncture wounds on her right leg near her knee. She required eighty stitches to that leg.
Witnesses say a five-foot shark bit the girl while she was in waist deep water around 3:39 p.m.
Caitlyn says she initially thought it was a dolphin in the water. It was in a wave headed towards her. She says it took her by the legs, tugged on her, and immediately turned her lose. The type of shark is undetermined. She was treated at the Destin Emergency Room.
A tourist told a local newspaper he saw blood running from the teen’s thigh as two friends helped her out of the water.
The Florida Museum of Natural History, which documents shark attacks worldwide, says it’s the fourth documented attack off Okaloosa County beaches since 1882. None were fatal.