April 13.2001 Florida
Three bitten by sharks in waters south of inlet
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The 2001 shark bite season is off to a rousing start with as many as five encounters reported in the past week.
According to Beach Patrol officers, three people alone were bitten Thursday south of Ponce de Leon Inlet.
The first incident occurred shortly before noon when Richard Lloyd, 22, of Orange City, was surfing near the south jetty.
"I had just jumped off my board and was underwater when I felt it grab my foot," Lloyd said while being treated at Bert Fish Medical Center. "I never saw it."
The bite cut a 3-inch gash across the top of his foot and was deep enough to partly sever a tendon. Lloyd made his way to shore, where he waved down a passing Beach Patrol officer and was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
Lloyd said doctors have told him he will need surgery to repair the damage.
Despite the injury, Lloyd said his encounter will not keep him out of the water.
"Maybe I will take up shark fishing," he said.
As emergency room doctors treated Lloyd, John Fazio Jr., 12, of Deltona, rolled up to the facility shortly after 1 p.m. with bites on his left ankle and foot.
Fazio said he was body boarding in waist-deep water just north of Esther Street, about two miles from the inlet, when he felt something grab him.
The Galaxy middle schooler was able to make his way to shore and was treated by lifeguards before a friend's father brought him to the hospital.
"It could have happened to anyone," Fazio said, adding he, too, plans on going back to the beach in the future.
The third bite of the day was reported about 4:10 p.m. when Emmitt Browning, 21, of Winter Springs, was surfing near the south jetty, according to Beach Patrol Capt. Rob Horster. He said Browning was bitten on the big and pinky toes of his right foot.
"It was just a little nip," Horster said.
Browning was treated at the scene and then left in a private vehicle, the captain said.
Beach Patrol Capt. David Williams said his office had a report of a possible shark bite Wednesday.
He said Elren Thresher, 19, of New Smyrna Beach, was surfing about a quarter mile south of the inlet when something grabbed his foot. He suffered minor cuts to the heel.
Thresher was treated at the scene, but refused transport to the hospital, Williams said.
EVAC ambulance spokesman Mark O'Keefe said one of his units was also called to a reported bite in New Smyrna Beach over the weekend, but was canceled before it arrived on the scene.
"As we understand it, it was a very minor wound," O'Keefe said. "A young boy was surfing when he was bit by something. It came in to us as a shark bite."
Emergency room officials at Bert Fish said they heard rumors of the bite, but treated no such injury. Beach Patrol officials could not confirm the incident, said Horster.
Last year, 12 shark bites, none life-threatening, were reported. The first one occurred April 15.