Two men are recovering from injuries after being attacked by a shark along Florida’s east shore, within an hour from each other on Saturday, July 27.
The first attack took place near the Jacksonville Beach Pier around 3:30 p.m on Saturday. Frank O’Rourke, 23, told WTLV that he was sitting on his surfboard approximately 20 to 30 yards south of the pier when a shark bit into his right arm.
“I felt something jump out of the water and latch onto my arm by my elbow,” O’Rourke, a competitive surfer, told the news outlet, noting the attack only lasted about 30 seconds but left his elbow bloody and gashed. “It just grabbed onto me and thrashed in the water and swam away.”
“I’m very lucky that I still have an arm,” he told WLTV while laughing. “You can see the jawline, like where the jawline is of the shark … There’s still blood on my surfboard.”
Instead of going to the hospital for treatment, O’Rourke simply had his arm bandaged at the scene. O’Rourke, who said he’s been surfing for 20 years, told the Univision affiliate that he regularly sees sharks in the water, especially near the pier, but had never been attacked by one until Saturday.
“If it’s your time, it’s your time,” he said, adding that the attack won’t prevent him from surfing. “If the [sharks] want you, they want you. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than killed by a shark. I’m going to buy a lottery ticket!”
The veteran surfer said he will stay away from water to avoid infection but plans to return to surfing as soon as his arm heals.
Shark Attack in Smyrna Beach One Hour Later
Meanwhile, an hour later at New Smyrna Beach, about 100 miles south of the first attack, another man survived a shark bite while boogie boarding, reported Orlando Sentinel.
William Angell, 49, suffered injuries to his right thigh after being bitten by a shark while in the ocean around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. He was treated at the beach and later drove himself to a medical center for additional treatment.
Angell, who had been visiting from Arizona, said he did not see the shark.
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) July 26, 2019
The attack comes only weeks after a 16-year-old girl was bitten on her foot while vacationing in Amelia Island, Florida, also while boogie boarding.
The victim, Jackie Jozaitis, told WWSB she had been boogie boarding in the morning when she was bitten on her heel and ankle.
Jozaitis said she didn’t see the shark, but “felt the jaw snap.” She then started running out of the water and managed to get to the shore, where her friends helped apply pressure to the wound while first responders arrived. She was then taken to a nearby hospital.
— WTOC 11 (@WTOC11) July 15, 2019
The attack happened in the early morning, which is when sharks are usually feeding, Jozaitis later learned. She said she would have gone out later had she known that.
“The main thing for me was to make sure of your surroundings, to be knowing what’s happening around you,” the high school student told WWSB. “Because if I have decided not to go during sunrise, to find out that’s when sharks feed during sunrise and we didn’t know that.”
The bite was just a centimeter away from her Achilles tendon, reported Fox 13. Doctors told the teen to avoid putting weight on her foot for six to eight weeks, which means she’ll have to use crutches and a wheelchair to get around.