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Woman loses lower arm, two teens wounded in Walton County shark attacks

In a joint press conference on Friday afternoon, South Walton Fire Control District Chief Ryan Crawford and Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson provided details about two separate shark attacks that […]

SWFD

In a joint press conference on Friday afternoon, South Walton Fire Control District Chief Ryan Crawford and Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson provided details about two separate shark attacks that occurred in Walton County, Florida, earlier today.

  • The incidents, which took place within four miles from each other, have left multiple victims with severe injuries.

The first attack occurred around 1:20 p.m. near Founder’s Lane in Watersound Beach. A 45-year-old female, who was swimming just past the first sandbar with her husband, suffered significant trauma to her midsection, pelvic area, and the amputation of her left lower arm.

  • Lifeguards and deputies immediately responded, providing care before transferring the patient to firefighter paramedics. She was then transported to HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital in critical condition.

The second incident, reported at 2:56 p.m. near Sandy Shores Court in Seacrest Beach, involved two female victims between the ages of 15 and 17, according to Chief Crawford.

The group was swimming just inside the first sandbar when the attack occurred. The first victim suffered severe injuries to one upper and one lower extremity, requiring the application of tourniquets. She was transported in critical condition to Ascension Sacred Heart, Pensacola.

  • The second victim sustained flesh wounds to her right foot and was taken to Ascension Sacred Heart Bay in stable condition.
WCSO

Chief Crawford emphasized the rarity of the situation, stating, “Marine life is out there. That’s their environment. when you go into their environment, unfortunately, as rare as these things are, these things can happen.”

  • Sheriff Adkinson addressed the unusual nature of the attacks, saying, “It is rare, exceedingly rare to have three victims in one day. We understand that. But we need to make sure that we’re also using good judgment.”

In response to the attacks, authorities have closed the water to swimming for a two-mile radius around the incident sites. Experts from Mote Marine in Sarasota have been contacted to investigate any potential anomalies.

Both Chief Crawford and Sheriff Adkinson commended the swift actions of lifeguards, deputies, and nearby citizens with medical training who provided immediate care to the victims. They also praised the seamless coordination between the South Walton Fire District, Walton County Sheriff’s Office, and Walton Air Rescue in handling the incidents.

While the specific species of sharks involved in the attacks has not been identified, authorities acknowledge that sharing the water with marine life is an inherent risk.

The decision to reopen the beaches will be reevaluated tomorrow. In the meantime, authorities urge beachgoers to remain vigilant and comply with beach flags and closures for their own safety.

11 Responses

  1. There were a lot of heroes on the beach today. I witnessed it. Responders are wonderful but it took a long time for them to get to her. Multiple vacationing nurses , paramedics, physicians and a navy seal saved this woman in those minutes. It was equally awe inspiring and awful.

  2. We were chased out the water by this shark hours before. Two very small children narrowly missed an attack at the shoreline as their mother frantically screamed at them to swim in. I am surprised the beach was not shut down earlier are an alert put out. This was at Blue Mountain Beach at 11:00AM. We understand the risk of swimming in the ocean but the bell should have been sounded that active sharks were swimming at the shoreline.

    1. We were at Rosemary Beach last month. Do you know what type of sharks that attacked yesterday were?

          1. The shark swam 20 ft in front of us at Greyton beach 45min before the attack. It was an 8ft bull shark. We got a great look at him because he was swimming very slowly at the break of the first bar but still in clear water.

  3. We were in Santa Rosa beach this week and a shark swam right in front of us in the first wave on Wednesday. We were running down the beach for people to get out of the water. It was very scary. Prayers for those injured!

  4. Thank you all for the comments. We leave for our trip to Seaside in 7 days. Terrifying that the last few years swimming in this area we told ourselves “if we only wade out to your knees” or “but the water is so clear you could see one coming” and that incidents like these would never happen to us. We were naive.

  5. We were down at the public beach access near surfing deer. I saw a massive shark in the water while walking down the stairs. I sprinted to the water to tell people to get out. Even after seeing a large shark and being told about it people still going the water. Unfortunately you can’t fix stupid. This is the sharks home. It is our job to be mindful of that and assess the risk.

  6. Why were 1st responders not prepared? The nurses and medic who were vacationing on the beach saved their lives. It took over an hour to get the patients to a trauma center!

  7. I just have to say that I was at Inlet Beach during Spring Break in March and the Medical Patrol was all over the place. Probably rescuing people who were swimming in dangerous rip currents which were posted-therefore, known to swimmers in advance. So to say “Where was the medics?” – They are there! And working their buts off! It’s a large area. Thank god for those who helped in the meantime. Sounds like they were perfectly suited for the situation.
    Prayers to these girls and their families.

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