Boy recovering after suspected shark bite in water near Delray
It was supposed to be just another Florida family vacation for the Cicarellis.
Mike Cicarelli brought his family from Roxbury, Conn., to visit his parents, but after 20 minutes in the water near Delray Beach on Wednesday, Mike Cicarelli and his wife, Tanya, heard a scream at about 10:30 a.m.
Something, authorities suspect a small shark, had just bitten their 9-year-old son Colten's foot.
"It's something that a mother knows. You hear a certain cry and you know it's something more than just a bumped toe," Tanya Cicarelli said at a news conference at Delray Medical Center on Thursday.
Mike Cicarelli plucked Colten from the water, but it wasn't until a lifeguard rolled Colten over that the parents saw the bite.
At first, the parents thought Colten stepped on something. But Colten later described seeing a bluish-gray fish, about 3 feet long, with three fins in the water.
"We were very scared," said Mike Cicarelli.
Plastic Surgeon Dr. Anthony Dardano was on call when Colten came in to the hospital. He said the injury was hard to treat, not only because of the risk of infection from the bite and sand in the torn skin, but the crushing motion of a shark's bite.
"He's extremely lucky," Dardano said.
If the bite atop Colten's foot was a millimeter in either direction, Dardano says it could have torn an artery. Despite injured tendons, Dardano expects Colten to make a full recovery in about six to eight weeks.
"Probably sooner," Mike Cicarelli laughed.
Colten spent an hour in surgery Wednesday, but the family isn't completely in the clear.
"I don't know what actually grows in the mouth of a shark, so there's probably significant bacterial contamination," Dardano said.
He adds that infection could set in several days to a week later, but Dardano says early signs are good for Colten, who is on "powerful antibiotics."
"He was able to wiggle his toes and he felt everything," Dardano said. "He seemed pretty comfortable watching his cartoons, so he did well."