16-Year-Old Girl Bitten by Shark While on Vacation in Florida

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 15, 2019US News
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16-Year-Old Girl Bitten by Shark While on Vacation in Florida
A great white shark in a file photo. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

A 16-year-old girl was bitten by a shark while on vacation in Florida, authorities said.

The girl, who was not named, was boogie boarding off of Amelia Island on July 12 when a shark bit the back of her foot, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper told CNN.

The girl fled the area and went to the pool at the resort her family was staying at to meet first responders, who gave her treatment before transporting her to a nearby hospital with injuries to her foot, heel, and ankle.

Shark attacks are not common in the area, Leeper said, but sharks are known to prefer feeding in the morning and late afternoon.

Jackie Jozaitis, the girl, told WWSB that she wished she was aware of that information.

“The main thing for me was to make sure of your surroundings, to be knowing what’s happening around you, because if I have decided not to go during sunrise, to find out that’s when sharks feed during sunrise and we didn’t know that,” she said.

Jozaitis told WJXT that she was boogie boarding in waist-deep water when the attack happened.

“I went to get a wave, and then I felt, like, a jaw, like, snap on my foot,” she said. “And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, something bit me.’ I was freaking out. I, like, took my, like, foot off, I’m like, ‘What had bit me?’ And I started running out of the water.”

“I was like ‘oh my gosh I was bit by something,’ and I was like ‘oh my gosh I need help I’m bleeding’ and I got out of the water. I looked at my foot and it was just open,” Jozaitis added to the Suncoast News Network.

Doctors told the family that the shark nearly severed Jozaitis’s Achilles tendon. Because it didn’t, full recovery is expected in several months.

A security officer from the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort called 911 after seeing the teen bleeding by the pool deck. “We had a guest with reported lacerations to the foot and they were transported to a local hospital. As always, we encourage guests to exercise caution and follow local advisories,” a resort representative said in a statement to WJXT.

NTD Photo
(Screenshot/Google Maps)
NTD Photo
(Screenshot/Google Maps)

The resort did not release a statement on its website or social media pages. On its website, Omni is described as a luxury resort on 1,350 acres with 3.5 miles of secluded beach.

People on the beach responded to the attack, with some saying they’d avoid the water but others saying they would not.

“It definitely makes me feel like I need to look out and just be cautious,” vacationer Lamiiko Moore told WJXT.

“It’s terrible to the person it happened to, but what are you gonna do? There are sharks in the water and there are people in the water,” added Joe Szewczyk. “I got a better chance of hitting the lottery than getting bit by a shark.”

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