The Florida Keys experienced two more recorded shark bites in less than two days on May 18 and 19, in completely different scenarios.
On Thursday, 20-year-old Miami resident Kevin Blanco was spear fishing with friends in about 70 feet of water off Marathon when what he believed was a 9- to 10-foot bull shark bit him twice on the leg. left around 3 pm
“I don’t really remember the pain, but I do remember the pressure and the force. … I felt like I was hit by an F-150,” Blanco told CBS Miami.
Using a belt as a tourniquet, Blanco’s friend Daniel Maduro tried to stem the bleeding as the group brought the injured diver to shore at Sunset Grille & Raw Bar. The Seven Mile Bridge was closed in both directions for about 45 minutes to allowing the Trauma Star air ambulance to land and take Blanco to Jackson South Medical Center in Miami.
“I hardly know Danny, who I consider a hero, but what he did was miraculous,” Omar Blanco, himself a captain with the Miami-Dade Fire Department, said at a news conference. “Everything that could have gone wrong went right in this situation.”
Kevin is expected to make a full recovery and be released from Jackson South early next week. He said the incident will “absolutely not” prevent him from spearfishing again, and he hopes to get back in the water as quickly as possible.
In a second incident the next day, a shark bit a 35-year-old man fishing off a pier on Summerland Key on the foot, according to a statement from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Social media reports that have yet to be officially confirmed indicate that the man was trying to free the hooked shark when the incident occurred.
The man was airlifted via Trauma Star to Jackson South, and his immediate condition is unknown, according to MCSO.
Although the risk of being bitten by a shark remains extremely low, the Keys have now experienced nine publicized bites in the past 13 months. Of the nine incidents, four involved spearfishing or an animal already hooked and are therefore classified as “induced bites” by the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF).
According to ISAF’s 2022 annual summary, there were 57 unprovoked bites worldwide last year, along with 32 provoked incidents. The United States claimed 41 of the 57 unprovoked bites (71.9%), and Florida alone was responsible for 16 bites (28% of the world total). In Florida, Volusia County recorded the most bites in 2022 (7) with Monroe County coming in second (4).
In a break from recent trends, in 2022 surfers and boardsports suffered fewer incidents (35%) than swimmers and waders (43%).
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