Nine-year old Maggie Crum was bitten by a shark while playing off Florida’s east coast Aug. 16.
Her mom, Aimee Breiding, was unaware of the New Smyrna Beach reputation for a large number of shark bites when she planned her vacation from Ohio.
Once the family arrived in Florida, she was told about several shark bites in the area. She decided it was best not to tell the children since they might be afraid to enjoy the water.
When Breiding and her daughters headed into shallow water, she was wading in knee-deep water with two of her girls while Maggie swam about five feet away. Just before 11 a.m. she heard Maggie scream. At first, she thought it was a joke, then Maggie lifted her leg and showed her mom the wound.
“It felt like a grab at first and then it just ripped into the skin, and that’s when it hurt and felt like a bite,” Maggie told the NBC Today show.
Breiding, who is a firefighter and paramedic, knew the wound was serious. After she got her children out of the water, she took Maggie to the hospital. The fourth grader needed 12 stitches to sew up the lacerations just below her right knee.
Maggie is in good spirits and has no qualms about getting back in the water. “Because what are the odds that you’re going to be bit twice?” she said.
The waters of New Smyrna are brackish and choppy, which makes for great surfing. The area also has plenty of nutrients for bait fish, which attract sharks.
Sharks hunting fish may mistake humans as prey causing a negative interaction. However, the majority of shark bites in the area are quick bite and release attacks. Essentially the shark bites, realizes humans are not prey, and swims off.
There have been several other bites in the area this year.
A 68-year-old Nashville man was bitten on the foot while wading in the area Aug. 4.
On Aug. 3, two shark bites were reported within a few minutes of each other in the same waters.
Surfer Emily Comfort, 20, was hitting the waves when a shark grabbed her left hand and wrist around 3:30 p.m. As she was being treated by emergency personnel, Riley Petrovich, walked up with a wounded foot. The 21-year-old had been bitten on the right foot by a shark while paddling out into the jetty.
On June 30 an 18-year-old surfer was bitten on the foot. A 23-year-old swimmer was bitten on his fingers June 12, and a 12-year-old body surfer received several puncture wounds to his leg from a shark while body surfing in 3 feet of water June 10.
Matthew Cornell, 19, was wading in waist-deep water when he stepped on a shark April 28. The estimated 4-foot shark grabbed the Sanford teen’s left calf around 7:45 p.m.
There have been a total of 61 shark attack bites (58 with injury, 14 of which are considered provoked*) publicly reported and verified in 2019.
All locations have been marked on the 2019 Shark Attack Map.
Five fatal**; 35 were reported in the U.S. (including one
fatal), with 19 occurring in Florida (3 provoked) 7 in Hawaii (2 no injury, 1
provoked,1 fatal) and 2 in California (1 no injury). Ten have been reported in
Australia, zero fatal. Four unconfirmed bites, worldwide, not included in the
*Provoked defined as spearfishing, feeding sharks, fishing, etc. (listed with green marker).
**One possible scavenge