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07/14/2020 - Sofia Montealegre 14 yr - Florida

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07/14/2020 - Sofia Montealegre 14 yr - Florida

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Sofia Montealegre shark attack in Orange County shark attacks Florida shark attack

MontealegreSofia_Melbourne-FLorida._2.jpg (69.99 KiB) Viewed 5059 times
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Sofia Montealegre, 14, was getting a piggyback ride from a friend in the water at Melbourne Beach when she felt an intense, sharp pain in her left foot before she went into shock.

“I knew that I had gotten bit,” she said.

Doctors estimate a 4 to 6-foot bull shark chomped down on her foot. The teen described it as “grab and go.” She said it didn’t pull her down or come back for more.

READ: Sanford woman bitten by shark while surfboarding in New Smyrna Beach

“I was in its home and it probably just made a mistake thinking my foot was a fish or something like that,” she said.

She said a friend’s mom pulled her out of the water after she went into shock and was unable to move following the bite.

“That’s how you knew it was really bad because of the look on everybody’s faces,” she said.

After 10 days in the hospital and two surgeries, Montealegre is recovering at home in Orange County. She was supposed to start her freshman year in person at Colonial High School this month, but is participating in online classes until she can get back on her feet.

Doctors said they expect her to be able to walk again in a few months. Until then she’s using a walker to get around while the shark bite heals.

“You never know what can happen but you never really expect that type of thing to happen,” she said.

The teen said she thinks the colorful anklet she was wearing might have confused the shark into thinking her foot was a fish. She said she wants to warn other people not to wear shiny, reflective jewelry or bright neon bathing suits in the ocean to prevent sharks for mistaking them for food.

“It’s not something that happens a lot, but it happens more than you think,” she said.

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