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Walton County, Florida: Are beaches open after 2 shark attacks in 1 day in W...

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Published Time: 08.06.2024 - 18:05:03 Modified Time: 08.06.2024 - 18:05:03

The first bite took place 1:20 p.m. Friday, June 7. A 45-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital after swimming past the first sandbar near Founders Land in Watersound Beach, west of Seacrest Beach. Walton County, Florida, shark attack


A pair of shark attacks Friday in Walton County, Florida, resulted in three going to local hospitals, with one woman losing her left hand.

Here's what we know the shark bites and the victims:

The first bite took place 1:20 p.m. Friday, June 7. A 45-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital after swimming past the first sandbar near Founders Land in Watersound Beach, west of Seacrest Beach.

The second shark attack took place just before 3 p.m. near Inlet Beach, 4 miles east of the first incident. Two teenage girls, one 15 and one 17, were taken to area hospitals. The girls were swimming with friends just inside the first sandbar.

The 45-year-old woman was taken via helicopter to HCA Fort Walton-Destin Hospital. She is in critical condition with severe injuries, including the loss of her lower left arm.

One of the girls was taken by helicopter to Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola. She was listed in critical condition with severe injuries to her upper and lower extremities.

The other girl was taken to Ascension Bay Medical Center in Panama City Beach. She was in stable condition with flesh wounds to her lower right extremity.

Corey Dobridnia, public information officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Office, said as of 8:05 a.m. CT Saturday, June 8, the South Walton Fire District was changing the double-red flags and reopening the beaches and waters again.

"Walton County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife will have their boats in the Gulf to monitor the shoreline," Dobridnia said. "We just ask everyone to be aware of their surroundings while in the water."

Neighboring Bay County also closed its beaches Friday after the shark attacks. The Panama City Beach and Bay County websites did not have an update Saturday morning, with Bay County listing the risk level as "extreme."

According to trackingsharks.com, the incidents in Walton County are the first three shark-related incidents in Florida in 2024.

The Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File investigated 120 alleged shark-human interactions worldwide in 2023. Sixty-nine were confirmed as unprovoked shark bites on humans and 22 were found to be provoked bites.

Breakdown of 2023 reports around the world:

The 69 confirmed unprovoked cases is in line with the most recent five-year (2018-2022) average of 63 incidents annually, according to Florida Museum.

There were 14 confirmed shark-related fatalities this year, 10 of which were considered unprovoked. Two occurred in the U.S.

The 14 shark-related fatalities is higher than the five-year annual global average of six unprovoked fatalities per year.

Three of the unprovoked fatalities were due to bites from white sharks on surfers in Australia.

Florida Museum said the increase in fatalities in 2023 could reflect year-to-year variation, "but it might also be the consequence of the increasing number of white sharks seen at aggregation sites near beaches that are popular with surfers (particularly in Australia)."

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