Home World Dual shark attacks rock tourist beaches mere miles apart causing ‘devastating injuries'

Dual shark attacks rock tourist beaches mere miles apart causing ‘devastating injuries'


Dual shark attacks have rocked popular tourist beaches just four miles apart injuring three.

Walton County in Florida was hit with two separate attacks on Friday (June 7), prompting officials to close access to the ocean.

The first happened at 1.20pm on Watersound Beach. A 45-year-old woman was swimming when she suffered “significant trauma” to her torso and required an amputation on her lower left arm. She is currently in critical condition.

The second happened just before 3pm on Seacrest Beach, just four miles east. Two girls, ages 15 and 17, were swimming in waist-deep water. 

One sustained “significant” injuries to her hand and upper leg and is in critical condition. The other suffered flesh wounds to her right foot and is stable.

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson said the decision was made on Friday to close waters within a “couple mile radius” of the attack sites. Beach flags were changed to double red to indicate the water was closed for swimming.

County officials are also speaking with experts to determine if atypical circumstances triggered the attacks.

“We don’t think there is, but we certainly want to be diligent,” Adkinson said. “We know we share the water with sharks, we understand that as tragic as this is, there are always sharks.”

The last two shark incidents in the area were reported in 2021 and 2005, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. The 2005 attack was fatal, with a teenage girl pulled under and bitten by a shark.

South Walton Fire District Chief Ryan Crawford spoke during a news conference on Friday addressing the “series of shark bites” which caused “devastating” injuries.

These kinds of incidents are “highly unusual,” Crawford continued, and “extremely unusual” for two to strike on the same day so close to each other.

The type of shark involved in the attacks was not immediately known, Crawford said. It is also not known if the same shark committed both assaults.

While the risk of being bitten by a shark is extremely low, Florida tops global charts for the number of shark bites, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s annual shark attack report.

In 2023, Florida had 16 unprovoked shark bite incidents reported, which represents 44 percent of the United States total and 23 percent worldwide.

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