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11/05/2023 Steven Reinhardt Juno Beach, Palm Beach County Florida

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11/05/2023 Steven Reinhardt Juno Beach, Palm Beach County Florida

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Florida man who survived gruesome shark attack shares ordeal, thanks good Samaritan who rendered aid

JUNO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) – A Florida man is all stitched up after he came face to face with a shark, an encounter that nearly cost him his arm. Now, he is telling his survival story.

Steven Reinhardt said he was in the water near Juno Beach when he had a frightening encounter with a shark.

“And I just felt something hit my arm and thrash it, and I was like, ‘What the?’ You know, yeah, and I lift my arm up, and it looked like a Halloween prop,” he said. “I could see the muscles hanging and the blood and the bone.”

The realization hit the 60-year-old swimmer immediately.

“I kind of knew it was a shark when it hit me,” he said.

Then, against all odds, and with a mangled and bloody arm, Reinhardt swam 100 yards back to shore. He said his mind was focused more on staying alive than the pain he was enduring.

“Just get in before I bleed out, yeah, before I pass out,” he said.

Once he was back on shore, Reinhardt said, another miracle happened.

“There was one person on the beach, so I swam for her, and then I saw her, and I got out of the water and told her, ‘Please call 911,’ and I probably scared her to death,” he said.

That woman helped Reinhardt apply a tourniquet made from the drawstring of his shorts.

Over the phone, he was able to say his first thank you to the good Samaritan since the frightening marine encounter.

“I’ll get your number, if you don’t mind. I’ll call you, and I wanna bring you something, OK?” he said to her on the phone.

A first responder and a trauma surgeon said the immediate use of a tourniquet to control his blood loss was crucial.

“I don’t think it saved his arm; it may have saved his life,” said Gordon Wilson with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

“This is the worst shark bite that I’ve managed myself,” said Dr. Matthew Ramseyer.

Doctors said Reinhardt will make a full recovery after he undergoes two surgeries and a skin graft.

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