DeLand girl bit by shark; friend helps her to shore
Angelina DelRosso's summer fun kicked off June 2 with a shark bite at a beach birthday party.
"I'm the only person I've ever met who has been bitten by a shark," she said.
According to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File, only one person out of 11.5 million who get in the water in Volusia County will be bitten by a shark; university researchers said bees, wasps and snakes cause more deaths.
Angelina just happened to beat the odds on a sunny Saturday at the very beginning of summer break.
She was among a group of 13-year-olds gathered for a birthday party at Bethune Beach, just south of New Smyrna Beach.
Also at the party was Jane McAskill. Jane and Angelina have been friends since they were 4. About 30 minutes into the party, the girls went into the water.
"There were about 15 or 20 other kids in the water," Jane said. "And there were people all around us."
Angelina had her surfboard. The water was glassy like a lake. Her little brother, Dominic, 11, was farther out with his surfboard.
A good wave finally came along, and Angelina popped on her board to catch it.
That's when she was attacked.
"I felt, like a tug, and my board went down," Angelina said. "I looked down, and started screaming."
Jane was about five feet away. She raced to her friend's side.
"She started screaming, 'Mom!' and I tried to get over to her as quickly as possible," Jane said.
Sherri and Dave DelRosso, Angelina's parents, were on the boardwalk watching the children swim.
"We saw the entire thing. It happened like that," Sherri DelRosso said, snapping her fingers to illustrate the quickness.
"The board took this crazy nosedive," Sherri DelRosso said. "I thought she broke something. Never in my wildest imagination did I think it would be a shark bite."
Jane also thought her friend might have broken a bone.
Neither of the girls saw the shark.
A Good Samaritan ran into the surf to help, and Angelina's parents raced to the water.
Jane told Angelina to get on her board, and both girls kept their cool, recalling the movie and book Soul Surfer, in which the lead character's life is saved after a shark attack by remaining calm.
"I just kept telling her to stay calm, stay calm," Jane said.
"I was trying to remain calm, but it was hard," Angelina said.
When will the girls feel like getting back into the ocean?
"I know I will, eventually," Angelina said.
"I probably will eventually, just not this summer," Jane said. "You see this in the news, a person getting bitten by a shark, but it never actually happens to someone you know."
Angelina is revising her summer plans.
"I was going to go to surf camp, but I don't think that's going to happen now," she said.
The 21 stitches in Angelina's leg will be out in two to three weeks, and she can resume normal activity in four to six weeks.
Her mother said this was not Angelina's first close call. When she was 7, she fell off a ski lift and shattered several vertebra.
Angelina and Jane are both DeLand residents, and rising eighth-graders at St. Barnabas Episcopal School in DeLand. Angelina surfs, water-skis, plays softball and volleyball. Jane enjoys horseback riding, tennis, basketball and volleyball.