09/24/2011 Charles Wickersham ( Florida )

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09/24/2011 Charles Wickersham ( Florida )

Post by alb » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:40 am

Longboat Key man bitten by shark

A spearfisherman injured in a shark attack was brought to Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria Island.

ANNA MARIA ISLAND - The tables turned on a 21-year-old man when he became a shark's target while spearfishing with friends off the coast of Anna Maria Island on Saturday.

Longboat Key resident Charles Wickersham sustained a severe bite wound by what appeared to be a bull shark that clamped down and tore back flesh so deep it exposed his thigh bone, said West Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Dennis Dotson.

It is only the fifth reported unprovoked shark attack in Manatee County since 1882; Sarasota County has seen seven attacks in that same time, according to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

Wickersham's injuries were not considered life threatening; he was was flown by emergency helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for treatment.

“He had a substantial loss of blood, but he had good pulses and sensations,” Dotson said. “He was alert, conscious and talking when they airlifted him out.”

Wickersham, a 2008 Manatee High School graduate, was spearfishing in 40 feet of water about 3 to 6 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico around 3 p.m. Saturday when the shark attacked.

Wickersham's five friends were able to load him in their 24-foot boat and drive to the Rod and Reel Pier on North Shore Drive at Anna Maria's northern tip.

An employee at the Rod & Reel Pier said he did not know anything about the attack other than “it is not good for business.”

Paramedics and deputies treated the injury to Wickersham's left thigh while awaiting the helicopter.

The crescent-shaped gash was about 15 inches long with deep puncture wounds on one side.
“I've never heard of anything like that around here,” Dotson said.

A call to the Wickersham's home on Saturday evening went to the answering machine.

A New College of Florida student was bitten by a shark in August 2007 while she swam in Sarasota Bay.

Andrea Lynch, then 20, was bit on her ribs and pelvis and needed more than 100 stitches during a three-hour surgery to close the wounds.

A Mote Marine Laboratory shark expert had estimated Lynch was bitten by a bull shark about six feet long.

Bull sharks are considered one of the most dangerous sharks in the world and are among the most likely to attack humans. They can measure 7 to 12 feet and weigh 200 to 500 pounds, on average. Bull sharks are identified by a blunt snout, thick bodies and and long pectoral fins.

Spearfishing could have triggered the attack if there were bloody, distressed fish in the water; speared fish should be quickly removed from the water.

The month of September is recorded as the most active month for shark attacks in the state, according to International Shark Attack File.

There have been 545 confirmed shark bites in Florida from 1882 through 2006, with 13 fatalities, the File shows.

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Re: 09/24/2011 Charles Wickersham ( Florida )

Post by alb » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:53 pm

Heroic rescue saves Longboat Key man after shark bite

MANATEE - Seven young people went out on a Dorado outboard Saturday for a day of spear fishing and lazy times 5 miles off the northern tip of Anna Maria Island.

That all seven came back alive took some heroic effort by six of them.

At 3 p.m., as he bobbed in the water next to the boat catching his breath from a dive, 21-year-old Charles "CJ" Wickersham of Longboat Key was attcked by a 9-foot bull shark that swam up from below.

"I saw the commotion under him," said lifelong friend Connor Bystrom, owner of the boat. "He was splashing and freaking out. All of a sudden he was screaming for help. I saw him punch the shark in the face. I turned to our friend, Max Garza, and we gave each other a look like, 'This is serious' and we both dove into the water. There was a 10-foot diameter cloud of blood around CJ."

The shark had bit Wickersham on the outer part of his left thigh, leaving a gaping wound from his knee to his hip. His flesh literally flapped on his leg, Bystrom said.

"You could see his femur," he said.

Thanks to quick thinking by his six friends, who tied off the wound with a tourniquet to halt the extensive bleeding, called 911, called Wickersham's parents and kept him conscious and alert while racing him to a waiting ambulance at the Rod & Reel Pier.

Wickersham is out of danger today at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

"These six people saved my son's life," said Ells Wickersham, who said her son required five units of blood and has had one surgery so far to clean up the wound area. "There are all heroes."

The six on the boat with Wickersham were Kiera Dunn, Oceanna Beard, Katie Mattas, Lee White, Garza and Bystrom.

Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/
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