Florida Teen Has Leg Amputated After "Devastating" Shark Attack
A teenage girl was scalloping in the waters off Keaton Beach, Florida, with her family on Thursday when a nine-foot shark latched onto her right leg.
"I didn't really know exactly what to do, but I knew that with sharks you're supposed to punch them in the nose to get them off of you, and I couldn't get around to punch him in the nose," Addison Bethea, 17, told CNN from her bed at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) on Monday. "So I just started socking it in the face and then poked its eyes and I tried to latch it off me with my fingers, and then it bit my hand."
Bethea's brother Rhett Willingham, a firefighter/EMT, said he heard his sister "make a noise almost like something scared her."
"I sat up and looked and didn't see her," he recalled to CNN. "Then she came up from the water and I saw the shark and the blood and all that, then I swam over there and got (the shark) off."
After fighting off the shark in approximately five feet of water, Willingham pulled his sister into a boat. He applied a tourniquet to her leg before rushing her back to land.
According to a statement from TMH, the bite left "devastating damage to the soft tissue in her right leg" including "the loss of her quadriceps" as well as "massive nerve and vascular damage."
On Wednesday morning, Bethea underwent an above the knee amputation. Her family shared on their Fight Like Addison Facebook page that the surgery went "very well."
There is a GoFundMe set up to help with Bethea's medical expenses and rehabilitation.
Bethea has a long road to recovery that will require extensive rehabilitation. Despite that, she's reportedly in good spirits, and is cracking jokes about beating up the shark. She even plans to get back in the ocean as soon as she's able.
"I mean, a shark has always been there, it just happened to attack me that day," Bethea told CNN. "I lived 17 years without a shark attack. I'm fine with going back."
Now that's what we call spirit!