Back-to-back shark bite incidents force Florida county to close waters

Waters off Walton County, Florida have been closed after back-to-back incidents of shark bites in Friday County.

Both incidents occurred near Walton County and not near a boat, but officials are clear how far from land the attacks occurred, said McKenzie McClintock, the county’s PIO. South Walton fire.

The two incidents took place about 4 miles apart in about 90 minutes, South Walton Fire District Chief Ryan Crawford said. There were three victims in total.

It is “extremely unusual” for two biting incidents to occur in one afternoon, Crawford said during an evening news briefing.

A 45-year-old woman was injured in first ‘reported shark incident’. The incident occurred in the water around 1:20 p.m. in Watersound, in the Founders Way area of ​​Watersound Beach in the Florida Panhandle, Crawford and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said.

Crawford said the woman was swimming with her husband past the first sandbar when the bite occurred.

“She suffered significant trauma to her midsection, pelvic area, as well as injury to her left forearm,” Crawford said.

The woman was transported to a medical center in critical condition, Crawford said.

After the first attack, nearby beaches displayed two red flags to indicate the risk, the sheriff’s office said. The Gulf in the Walton County area was also closed to the public at that time.

Shortly thereafter, at 2:56 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office and firefighters responded to a second shark incident in the area of ​​Sandy Shores Court off Seacrest Beach in Walton County.

There were two victims in that attack, Crawford said: two women aged 15 to 17.

They were with a group of friends “just inside the first sandbar,” Crawford said, making the location “very similar” to that of the first attack.

The first victim had “significant injuries” to an upper extremity and a lower extremity, Crawford said. She was transported to a trauma center in critical condition.

The second victim had “flesh wounds” to his right foot and is in stable condition, Crawford said.

Walton County Sheriff Mike Atkinson said the two women in critical condition had a “fighting chance,” thanks to the quick responses of nearby citizens as well as first responders.

After the second attack, authorities shut off water to the public throughout Walton County.

McClintock said authorities don’t know what type of shark bit the two victims, but there are often sharks in these waters.

Officials said Friday they needed some time before allowing people to return to the water and added they would like to reassess the situation Saturday.

Officials contacted experts at Mote Marine, in Sarasota, Fla., Atkinson said, to see if there was anything “abnormal” about the double attacks, although he said he didn’t think not that this is the case.

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