Friday, August 9, 2013

17-Year-Old Suffers Shark Bite at Sanibel Island, Florida

   Sanibel Island, FL shark bite injury. Christian Mercurio
A 17-year-old fisherman, Christian Mercurio, was bitten by a 7 to 8 foot shark while fishing off Sanibel Island, Florida on August 5, 2013

Christian's story had become somewhat buried this week due to the plethora of 'shark week' tales about megalodons and aliens.  But Christian was nice enough to reach out to us via Facebook and let us know the details about his harrowing shark encounter earlier in the week.

On Monday, Christian was fishing off Sanibel Island at around 3:00pm.  He was in three feet of water and was standing on the second sandbar.  At the time, the water was quite murky due to recent rains.

Christian had just hooked a catfish when all of a sudden he felt pressure on his right leg.  He realized he was in trouble when he began to get pushed and pulled.  Assuming that it was a shark latched on his leg, he immediately tried to pull his leg free. He states that it took him about ten seconds to finally rip his leg from the shark's vice like grip.  In the struggle, Christian's left foot was also injured.

Shark bite injury Sanibel Island, FL. Photo courtesy of Christian Mercurio
Once free from the shark, Christian began running towards the shore but slipped and fell several times.  As he made his way closer to shore, he began yelling 'shark' to alert others of the danger.

At the time, his parents were on the beach and they noticed their son running towards shore yelling shark. His mother was initially not sure of what had happened but she soon realized that the situation was serious when she saw Christian exit the water with blood pouring from multiple puncture wounds to his leg and foot.

Once Christian was safely on the beach, medical help was summoned.  His parents began working to control the bleeding and all the while Christian was calmly on his phone texting friends about his real life 'shark week' encounter.

Shark bite injury. Photo courtesy of Christian Mercurio
Christian was transported by ambulance to HealthPark Medical Center hospital.  He sustained multiple puncture wounds to his leg and foot.  The wound to his right leg had a bite radius of 22 centimeters which led his doctor to estimate the size of the shark between seven to eight feet.

Christian tells us that he is doing much better now and that he has been resting and spending time watching episodes of Shark Week, albeit with a new perspective not shared by many.  His biggest regret about the whole incident is that he lost his fishing pole in the attack but he tells us that he'll be getting a new one once he gets back on his feet.

Lastly, Christian told us that he does not blame the shark for attacking him.  He states that "whenever you enter the water, remember you're entering their home" and you need to be prepared to accept the risk that comes with it.

We wish Christian all the best and hope that he gets that fishing pole sooner rather than later.

RELATED VIDEO: 11/17/2013 - Shark Cruises Close to Shore Off Bowman's Beach at Sanibel Island, Florida