09/16/2007 Jesica Riley (Florida) No Injury

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2007.

09/16/2007 Jesica Riley (Florida) No Injury

Postby sharkbait » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:22 am

Surfboard Bitten As Florida Teen Survives Close Encounter With Massive Bull Shark

Jessica Riley and her shark-bitten surfboard

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Flagler Beach, Florida (Sep 19, 2007 15:29 EST) The Florida teenager is now telling her incredible story of the close encounter with the big shark. The huge fish took a giant bite out of her surfboard, but didn't get her.

The near-miss happened just outside the breaking waves on Flagler Beach and the shark was not one of the typical 3- to 4-foot varieties that you see more often. It was big and Jessica Riley looked it right in the eye.

A picture of Jess and her surfboard, taken two hours after she narrowly missed being bitten herself, looks faked, but it wasn't. Instead, a large, half-circle was bit out of her surfboard by a bull shark estimated to be nine and a half feet.

"As soon as I raised [the board] out, this thing just comes up and chomps on it," Jess told Eyewitness News.

She was surfing alone early Sunday morning when she heard a splash nearby.

"The whole, like, Jaws effect, where you see the eyeballs and then they turn white and the teeth they were, like, crooked," Jess explained. "As soon as it bites in I, like, fall in, fall right onto the shark."

Jess struggled to get back to her board and made it to shore, scared but alive.

"Like, I started to kick, just kneed the shark right under its mouth, kind of. And my finger found its eyeball and, like, it went it. And as soon as I realized it was his eyeball, I shoved it in more," she said.

She doesn't think it's simply luck that she's still alive. She has a cross on her board and wore her cross necklace that day, something she never does.

Lifeguards did keep watch on the beach after the attack, but after two hours of watching didn't see anything. They opened the beach as usual Sunday and are not aware of any other sightings of the huge shark.

http://www.wftv.com/news/14152594/detail.html
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Postby sharkbait » Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:07 am

Surfer who lost chunk of surfboard to shark returns to beach

By LAUREN SONIS
Staff Writer

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News-Journal/JESSICA WEBB SIBLEY
Not everyone comes face-to-face with a shark like Jessica Riley, 19, did Sept. 16. Seen here with her shark-bitten surfboard, Riley was surfing alone in Flagler when she ended up on top of a shark and survived by poking out its eye. According to a marine biologist, it looked to be a 9-foot bull shark.

FLAGLER BEACH -- Jessica Riley has returned to the beach for the first time in nearly two weeks since she fought a shark.

Riley lost a chunk of her surfboard. The shark lost an eye.

Since that Sunday in mid-September, the 19-year-old Palm Coast college student has appeared on CNN and "Good Morning America" telling her story.

And though Riley has had trouble sleeping since she encountered the shark, she came back to Flagler Beach and let the water touch her Thursday. But she didn't go surfing.

"It's scary, because, you know my monster, it's still out there with one eye," Riley said.

Sleep has been better this week. She's getting four hours a night.

Her friends tell her the shark is a sign God wants her to go to church.

She had skipped it that Sunday. And instead decided to "surf the sunrise."

The day before her close encounter, Riley said she had a funny feeling in her stomach, warning that something bad was going to happen.

That night she barely slept. She planned to stay in bed that morning and catch a few more winks, but Riley kept picturing the 6- to 8-foot swells she had heard about all week.

When she got to North 12th Street around 7:30 a.m., the water lay flat. She lay on her surfboard, falling asleep.

"That's when I heard a splash, and I was nowhere near any waves," she said.

Maybe it was intuition. Maybe it was God. But something told her to raise her right hand, and the shark came up and bit her surfboard. All her weight shifted to the left side, Riley said.

"I heard a pop, and I thought, 'Oh, my God, there goes my leg,' " she said.

The pop turned out to be her surfboard.

She kneed the shark.

Her finger accidentally landed in the shark's eye , but as they struggled, Riley pushed her finger in, then pulled it out, pulling out the shark's eye.

She yelled for help twice, and, after the second time, after she kicked her leg up, the shark pulled her under. It grabbed her surfboard leash instead of her leg.

And Riley's not positive, but she thinks the shark severed the leash, because the surfboard floated 10 to 15 feet away. She pulled off the part of the leash still attached to her and dog-paddled to the board, picturing a shredded ankle.

"I remember thinking to myself, don't kick, or my foot would fall off," Riley said.

But her leg was fine. All in one piece, she climbed onto her board and paddled as fast as she could to shore.

Lifeguard Lt. Scott Lanigan said he found the chomped off piece of her board about an hour after the fight.

"The piece was about 20 yards out," in the water, he said. He could see the impressions of the shark's teeth. He took it home.

Riley hopes to get it back to hang next to her board, which she displays on the wall in her bedroom.

Riley's encounter came about a week before two Flagler beachgoers said they suffered small bites from sharks.

Biologist George Burgess, director of the shark research program at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, said as the human population increases so do shark bites.

Since the skirmish, Riley, an aspiring kindergarten teacher, has resolved to not get stressed and "to take life one day at a time."

lauren.sonis@news-jrnl.com

http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJ ... 092907.htm
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Postby sharkbait » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:07 am

News-Journal/JESSICA WEBB SIBLEY
Not everyone comes face-to-face with a shark like Jessica Riley, 19, did Sept. 16. Seen here with her shark-bitten surfboard, Riley was surfing alone in Flagler when she ended up on top of a shark and survived by poking out its eye. According to a marine biologist, it looked to be a 9-foot bull shark.

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