04/05/2005 Jessica Abe (Florida)

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04/05/2005 Jessica Abe (Florida)

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Woman Bitten By Shark At Jax Beach

POSTED: 7:00 pm EDT April 5, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A shark bit a woman vacationing at Jacksonville Beach Tuesday. Jessica Abe was waist-deep in the Atlantic Ocean with her two children when she felt something push against her left leg.

Woman Describe Encounter With Hammerhead

"I came out of the water and there was blood running down the back of my leg," she said.

A baby hammerhead shark caused the blood.

"It bit, I believe it was, her left calf," said lifeguard Jimi Palmer.

The shark bite was the first of the year in Northeast Florida. It's not something Abe is proud to have initiated.

"There were other people in the water," she said. "There were other people further out in the water than I was. It wasn't something I expected. It caught me completely off guard."

Shark experts believe increased fishing at the Jacksonville Beach pier, which is near where Abe was bitten, might have attracted the shark. They also believe the amount of recent rainfall has cooled the water temperature, another magnet for sharks.

"I'm sure it was looking for a fish," said Palmer. "It was hungry, and sometimes, I can imagine, they can see what they're biting. Sometimes they can't."

Palmer said the lifeguards are constantly on the lookout for sharks in the water, but he also said swimmers can help repel sharks by not wearing bright colors. He also recommended swimmers stay out of the water if they are cut or are bleeding.

"We're really here for everybody's safety," said Palmer. "We want people to come out to the beach and enjoy the water. And if we find that there is a danger, yes, we will get people out."

As for Abe, she won't be returning to the water any time soon.

"Maybe I'll get my feet wet," she said. "That's probably about it."

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