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Fisherman Bitten by Shark in Panhandle Waters

The man was fishing in waters off Okaloosa Island when the attack occurred.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

An afternoon fishing trip went horribly awry for a vacationer  to Florida’s Panhandle when he was attacked in waist-deep waters off Okaloosa Island by what authorities believe was a shark.

The incident happened around 2:30 p.m., according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.

“He said it grabbed him with enough force that when it grabbed his foot and pulled, he felt like his leg was being pulled out of the socket,” Lt. Mike Simmons of the Okaloosa Island Fire Department told the paper. “It was definitely a shark. You could tell by the bite marks.”

The man, who is from Tennessee, suffered a "pretty significant bite," the Okaloosa Sheriff's Office said in a media release. The victim told deputies he saw the shark swimming away after the bite and estimated it to be about 4 feet long. It is not clear what type of shark it was, the release said.

The man was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Monday’s toothy run-in isn’t the first for Florida this year – or this month for that matter.

On July 9, a 14-year-old boy was bitten by a shark off New Smryna Beach, 10 News reported, noting that the case marked the fifth shark bite in Volusia County alone in 2014.

In June, a 22-year-old woman was bitten in the Intracoastal Waterway off of Fort Lauderdale, according to Fox News. It is believed a bull shark was responsible for that attack.

Florida has logged 687 confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks between 1882 and 2013, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Fatalities during that time period have been rare with 11 reported.

Volusia county, where the 14-year-old was attacked, has logged the most confirmed shark attacks in the state with a total of 257 logged between 1882 and 2013.

Diane July 15, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Well, THAT bites.
Len Robertson July 15, 2014 at 03:09 PM
If there are too many sharks, hire a tribe of Orca. They eat one or two sharks and all the others flee.
kim mar July 15, 2014 at 03:18 PM
it drives me crazy when it is referred to as an "Attack". We are in its' territory, it is wild, it is a swimming and eating machine. It tasted ... it didnt like ... it went away. Please stop referring to shark bites as "attacks"
David Peoples July 15, 2014 at 06:21 PM
Don't worry. It was just our POS Governor Rick (I'M a crook and if you don't like it TS) Scott trying to get as much out of every taxpayer as possible.
Peter Gozinya July 15, 2014 at 11:53 PM
Great way to cure shark bites. Stay the F*ck out of the water, that's there home.

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