Girl bitten by shark released from hospital
Kaley Szarmack, 10, pulled her 6-year-old friend to safety after being bitten
Shark bite victim recovering
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -
The 10-year-old girl who was bitten by a shark in Jacksonville Beach told
Kaley Szarmack was released from the hospital Friday and is resting at home, her father said.
Kaley said she was in waist deep water at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near 25th Avenue South when a shark tore into her right leg.
“It was going like this (thrashing), and I was like, 'It is trying to rip it off.' So I was like, 'Come on!'” Kaley said. “My leg just started shaking, and my whole body was going crazy. And I was like, 'Get out! It's a shark!'”
Once it let go, Kaley wasted no time getting herself and her friends out of the water. She said she ran to shore but then noticed her 6-year-old friend was still in the water, so she got back out there and pulled the girl in.
“She seriously could have gotten much more hurt than this, because she is not as big as me, so it was like an instinct to go,” Kaley said.
A lot of people are calling Kaley a hero, because she pulled her friend to safety after being bitten. But she said she just did what she had to do.
“We all ran in and that little 6-year-old, she wasn't fast enough. She is very skinny, too, shouldn't have a lot of meat or anything on her. So I was like, 'Oh gosh.' So it kind of freaked me out,” Kaley said. “I wasn't really paying attention to my leg then, so I ran out. She wasn't too far out, but it was close enough to where I probably could have gotten her, so I went and grabbed her, and I ran her up to the beach.”
UNCUT: Vic Micolucci's interview with Kaley Szarmack
Kaley said after everyone was safe, what happened to her started to set in. Her leg was bleeding badly, and she was having trouble walking. People on the beach ran to help and tied up her wounds with a towel.
“They came pretty fast,” Kaley said. “I was in a panic. I was like, 'I am going to die!' I was so scared. I remember looking at it and I was like, 'Oh gosh.'”
High rip current risk at the beach But Kaley said after firefighters got to her, she calmed down. They rushed her to Wolfson Children's Hospital where she had emergency surgery, getting 90 stitches to stop the bleeding.
Kaley said from her hospital room Friday morning that she's feeling better every day. She's surrounded by family and friends and said the support has been overwhelming.
“Thank you to all the people who helped me on the beach,” she said. “I might have been even more hurt if it wasn't for them. So thank you!”
Kaley's a competitive surfer and said despite the bite, she's still planning to return to the ocean.
“I am sure of it,” Kaley said. “It's just my favorite thing to do. It makes me feel safe.
“What are the odds you're going to get bitten by a shark twice?” she added, laughing.
Dr. George Burgess, one of the world's top shark experts, said, looking at Kaley's wound, it appears the shark that bit her was probably no more than 4 feet long. He's not sure of the species, because the shark didn't leave any teeth behind. Burgess said he plans to follow up with Kaley to learn more about what happened.
She said that before she was bitten she saw a big school of fish jumping in the ocean, and that concerned her a little bit. But she said they were far away from where she was standing. Moments later, she felt the bite.
Doctors said Kaley will make a full recovery and will be able to walk, run, swim and surf after some physical therapy. But, she will have a big scar to show off.