Shark bites surfer; injury to leg minor
October 21, 2000
By Maggie Large
NORTH HUTCHINSON ISLAND Jason Licamele has always been "paranoid" about shark bites, his friend said.
On Friday, the 23-year-old surfer found his fears were justified.
Licamele was surfing with his roommate and co-worker Brian Garr, 25, about 50 yards north of Fort Pierce State Inlet Park a little after 6 p.m. when Licamele noticed a dark shape moving toward him, Garr said.
"He saw the shark coming from about 30 yards away heading straight for him," Garr said. "He couldnÂ’t even react."
Garr said he heard Licamele scream and saw him flailing in the water, then noticed him paddling into shore.
"I followed right after him," Garr said. "He had a huge gash on his right leg."
Licamele was able to make his way up to a bench at the Radisson Beach ResortÂ’s access on North A1A. Garr ran to the resortÂ’s restaurant for help, banging on the glass doors to get attention.
"The shark was probably a bull shark, about 6 or 7 feet long," Garr said. "ItÂ’s funny because Jason was always the one most paranoid about shark bites."
Both Licamele and Garr have been surfing "pretty much every day" since they moved to Fort Pierce six months ago to work at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.
"I think I might stay in for a couple of days, though," admitted Garr.
Licamele was treated at the scene by St. Lucie County Fire Rescue personnel, who confirmed the wound appeared to be a shark bite. He was then taken to Lawnwood Re-gional Medical Center.
Although there have recently been several attacks on marine life, such as dolphins, assualts on humans have been rare.
Last month, another surfer was bitten at dusk by a shark near the Fort Pierce Inlet. The victim, a 49-year-old Port St. Lucie resident, received injuries to his right foot and ankle.