A surfer was bitten on the foot by a shark near Juno Beach Pier, Florida.
Jason Hartl was south of the pier around 5 p.m. October 23 when he ran into what he thinks was a 3 to 4-foot blacktip shark.
“I was like paddling out, and then I was just about to where I wanted to be to catch a wave, and then all of a sudden a shark came up and bit my foot,” he told WPEC.
The 17-year-old was pulled into the water, but quickly got out and back onto his board.
He kept his hands and feet out of the water while he debated what to do next. Since he was around 200 yards off shore, no one was likely to hear his calls for help and he would need to paddle back in.
“I just started paddling in, and hoping it wouldn’t bite me again,” Hartl said.
Once he made it to shore, he alerted a beachgoer of the wound before collapsing. He needed 50 stitches to suture the wound in his left foot, and has made some changes to his surf habits.
“What I wish I would’ve done differently is stayed away from the pier, just because I definitely think that enhanced my chances of getting bit because sharks are attracted to the bait in the water, and the smell of that bait,” he said.
A wise decision. Bait and sounds of struggling fish can draw sharks into an area. Hartl estimated he was 25 to 50 feet away from the pier where 15 people were fishing.
The Dwyer High School boys’ basketball team member says he plans to get back in the water once he recovers.
There have been a total of 89* shark attack bites in 2017, 5 of which were fatal*; 45 were reported in the US, with 31 occurring in Florida** and two in Hawaii. Fourteen have been reported in Australia, one of which was fatal. Five unconfirmed worldwide and not included in the total count.
All locations have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking Map.
*Two may be scavenge. **One report may have been outside of Florida waters.