Shark bites legs of Florida swimmer who didn’t escape in time

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Cleve R. Wootson Jr.| The Washington Post

As the silhouette crept closer to the people splashing in the water, lifeguards on Haulover Beach in Florida started blowing their whistles and waving a warning to Sunday afternoon swimmers: A shark had been spotted; they needed to get out.

Video captured on a cellphone camera showed frightened people swimming or scurrying away from a large gap in the water. In the middle, a bull shark’s outline could be seen.

“It started getting closer to the people at the sandbar and they tried to get out,” Donovan Cecil told ABC-affiliate WPLG. “One guy, it went straight towards him and bit his leg, pulled him, gave him a little tug.

“I was freaking out,” he added.

The beachgoer, who has not been identified, was bitten on both legs “in the process of exiting the water,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Erika Benitez told the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The bull shark that left the gashes in the man’s legs was an estimated five feet long.

The victim made it out of the water, blood streaming down his legs, and walked over to lifeguards, who helped him and called paramedics.

Photos from the scene posted by the Sun-Sentinel showed paramedics bandaging the man’s legs as blood dripped down his ankles.

The man was alert when he was taken to the hospital, authorities said. He’s expected to survive.

Lt. Matt Sparling told WPLG that he’d never seen a shark attack at Haulover Beach “in my 20 years as a lifeguard.”

Last year, there were 81 unprovoked shark attacks against humans, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File. In 2015, there were 98 unprovoked attacks, although the year average hovers around 82.

Florida had 32 attacks last year, leading the United States.

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