The eighth shark bite for April has been reported in Florida.
Keenan Perry was surfing off Hannah Park April 14 when he was bitten on the foot.
“I didn’t see anything at all. I had nothing on my mind. We had just seen dolphins. I had no fear at all, I was just doing my normal surfing like I do two to three times a week,” the 17-year-old told News4Jax.
“I was near the shore, away from everybody in a dead zone by myself, [I] jumped off my board to see how deep it was. I was thinking about walking out. It was chest high, deeper than I expected. Right when my foot was hit, I didn’t see anything. It just latched, then was gone right after.
“Right when it happened, there was so much pressure. I was, like, that’s a shark bite. I could feel the teeth. It was very aggressive for a second. I hopped on my board and was trying to paddle in,” he said.
When he looked at his foot, he saw the damage to his right heel, and the outline of the shark’s teeth on the bottom of his foot.
“I just looked at the back of my foot . . . it looked like someone just stuck a knife back into my foot,” he said.
Perry and his friend were able to alert fisherman Kevin Rowland, who went into the water and helped the teen to beach.
Rowland and his wife administered first aid to the teen before he was taken to the hospital by paramedics around 1 p.m.
He received 80 stitches to repair his severed Achilles tendon (link to graphic image of the wound).
Perry remains in good spirits and plans on getting back in the water as soon as possible.
“I would go get in there right now if I could . . . I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am in his territory. He bit me, it’s fine,” he said.
This is the eighth shark bite for the month of April in Florida.
Caitlyn Taylor, 17, was bitten April 2 and had to fight a shark in a rare encounter on the second sand bar in the Panhandle. On April 3, Kody Stephens was bitten on the foot at Daytona Beach about 5 miles south of Ormond Beach. Melanie Lawson received a minor wound to her thigh April 4 after being bitten by a small hammerhead shark.
Two separate shark bite incidents occurred April 10 off Melbourne Beach. Heater Orr was bitten on the hand, and a 10-year-old girl was bitten on the calf. On April 11, an unidentified surfer was bitten near Ormond Beach, Florida.
Sharks tend to migrate north along the coast during this time of year, which combined with rough murky water tends to lead to negative interaction with humans.
Sharks use their mouths to investigate prey items with exploratory bites. Once they feel the item is not prey, they tend to move on.
Those concerned about shark bites may want to invest in shark repellant devices such as Shark Shields or Shark Bands, which use magnetic impulses to deter shark bites.
In addition, the Dorsal shark app allows users to report shark sightings along with seeing alerts posted by other users.
There have been a total of 30 shark attack bites in 2017, 3 of which were fatal*; 14 were reported in the US, with 13 occurring in Florida. Seven occurred in Australia, one of which was fatal. One with no injury and zero suspected attack bite.
*One identified as fatal may have been scavenge.