A 10-year-old boy lost part of a leg after being bitten by a shark while diving over the weekend in the Florida Keys archipelago in the southeastern United States, his family said. Jameson Reeder Jr. was attacked by the animal on Saturday (13) on the Looe Key reef, the Florida Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement.
According to a Facebook post by his uncle Joshua Reeder, the boy had been dislodged in a dinghy with his parents and three other siblings, and was diving into a shallow reef when he “received a sharp bite below the knee”. The attack is believed to have been carried out by a two and a half meter long bull shark.
The boy managed to hold on to a float and was rescued by his father, who put a tourniquet on his injured leg and signaled for another, faster boat, which took the family ashore.
Jameson was then flown to Miami Children’s Hospital, where a medical team saved his life, but was forced to amputate his leg below the knee.
“He’s out of surgery and is resting,” wrote the boy’s uncle.
While the highest number of shark encounters off the coast of New York this summer calls attention, the overall risk of being bitten by the animal remains low.
Global trends remain stable after a slight increase in attacks over the past 30 years, in part due to increased recreational human activities and the recovery of vulnerable shark populations.
According to the Florida Museum, last year there were 73 unprovoked attacks around the world, almost all caused by sharks mistaking humans for their prey.
Most attacks in the United States take place on Florida’s Atlantic coast, home to rough waters and fish on which several species of sharks feed.