Sharks attack three swimmers off two Florida beaches | Sharks

Two separate shark attacks at Florida beaches wounded three swimmers, including two teenagers, prompting some popular vacation spots to temporarily close, according to authorities.

A shark bit a 45-year-old woman at about 1.20pm on Friday while she swam at Watersound beach, along the coast of Walton county, Florida, in the eastern part of the state.

First responders airlifted the woman to a hospital after she sustained “significant trauma” to her midsection, according to Walton county sheriff’s office spokesperson Corey Dobridnia, USA Today reported. Part of her left arm had to be amputated as a result of the attack.

In a second attack about 90 minutes later, two more people were injured by a shark at Inlet beach, just four miles (6.4km) from Watersound, WVTM 13 reported.

A 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl were swimming with a group of friends in waist-deep water when a shark bit both of them.

One of the girls had serious injuries, and first responders airlifted her to Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola hospital in Pensacola, Florida, ABC News reported.

The Walton county beaches where both attacks took place were closed on Friday afternoon after the spate of shark-related injuries.

“Double red flags are now flying on the beaches in the surrounding area,” the Walton county sheriff’s office posted on Facebook on Friday. “The gulf is now closed to the public in Walton county in the localized area of the incident.

“We are encouraging beachgoers to be cognizant that lifeguards and beach deputies may be trying keep people out of the water in the immediate area.”

During a Friday press conference, the Walton county sheriff, Michael A Adkinson Jr, said that shark attacks in that community were rare, with the last one taking place in 2021, ABC reported.

“This is an anomaly … everything from it being three victims, to where it’s at,” he said. “All we can do is respond, control and mitigate what we can.”

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The latest shark attacks come days after a 46-year-old man was bitten by one of the marine animals at Del Mar City beach in southern California on Sunday. The man emerged from the encounter with significant injuries that nonetheless were not considered life-threatening.

Despite the relative rarity of shark attacks, each one attracts a disproportionate amount of news media attention.

Globally, there were fewer than 70 unprovoked shark bites in 2023, according to the International Shark Attack File curated by the Florida Museum.

Florida is the world leader for the number of shark attacks.

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