Shark bite gives Mayfield student Nick Canganelli a good story
Tuesday, April 01, 2008Patrick O'DonnellPlain Dealer Reporter
Mayfield -- The shark bite on Nick Canganelli's shin is no big deal for West Palm Beach, Fla., where it takes a gory mauling to attract attention.
But at Mayfield High School, where classmates have only had to dodge the gaping jaws of vicious Lake Erie perch, it's a major happening.
Nick, 15, said the one-bite attack just a few feet offshore from a Palm Beach Shores hotel last week made him a celebrity at school Monday. Photos of his bite are being passed around on the cell phones of classmates.
And his mother, Toni, said she heard strangers talking about the bite at a dentist's office Monday.
"I have a lot more people coming up to me and talking to me now," Nick said after school Monday, before joking, "I finally have friends."
The family of six flew to Palm Beach just before Easter for a short vacation. Over that weekend, Nick and his three siblings were often in the water up to their chests. On Tuesday, March 25, Palm Beach Shores police said public beaches were closed because sharks had been spotted near shore feeding on schools of fish in shallow waters.
The Marriott hotel where they stayed warned guests about going in the water but mostly because of rough waves, which Nick and his brothers had fun riding in a raft. When a school of fish came near shore, Nick said, he and his brothers tried to catch them by hand.
His brother Anthony ran ashore for a pail and told their mother he had seen a dolphin catch a fish. Then Nick, up to his knees in water, felt a bite he compared to a bad dog bite.
"When I turned around to look, I saw the fin out of the water and this gray thing swam away," he said.
His brother and a nearby surfer estimated the "dolphin" was 6 feet long.
Doctors at a hospital later told him it was probably a Spinner shark, which bites its prey and rotates to tear it apart. The round wound, about the size of an orange, needed 12 stitches.
Police and paramedics confirmed the incident but could not verify the bite was from a shark since they did not see it. Police classified the attack as "minor."
Doctors are telling Nick that the wound is healing fine and that he can return to track practice when stitches come out. He says he'll be careful in the water now, the family is more relieved than shaken.
"It worked out," said his mother. "He's OK. And he's got a good story."
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