CAPE SAN BLAS, Fla. – A boy fishing in waist-deep water Monday was bitten and critically injured in the second shark attack (search) on a teenager along the Florida Panhandle in three days.
Craig A. Hutto (search), 16, of Lebanon, Tenn., was taken to Bay Medical Center in Panama City, where his leg was amputated. He was listed in critical condition but was expected to recover, said hospital spokeswoman Christa Hild.
The boy was attacked off Cape San Blas (search), a popular vacation destination about 80 miles southeast of the Destin area, where Jamie Marie Daigle of Gonzales, La., was killed by a shark Saturday. She was 14.
The boy was fishing with two friends when the shark bit him in the right thigh, nearly severing his leg, Gulf County Sheriff's Capt. Bobby Plair said. Witnesses said the boy's brother saved his life.
The shark "would have dragged him away," said Karen Eaker, 42, who was vacationing from Horn Lake, Miss. "His brother literally was beating the shark on the snout."
The teen was pulled ashore by his friends, and a doctor who happened to be nearby began treatment before the boy was taken to the hospital, Plair said.
"It got the main arteries in the right leg," Plair said, adding that the teen lost a large amount of blood. The shark was about 6 to 8 feet long, Plair said, citing witnesses.
Gulf County has no lifeguards on any of its beaches, he said. Officials closed the county's beaches until late Tuesday morning.
On Saturday, Daigle had been swimming on a boogie board with a friend about 100 yards from shore when a shark tore away the flesh on one leg from her hip to her knee. At a news conference discussing the girl's autopsy Monday, shark experts said the size of the bite indicates she was attacked by a bull shark as long as 8 feet.
After that attack, a 20-mile stretch of shore was closed to swimmers, but beaches reopened Sunday with a double staff of sheriff's beach patrol officers. On Monday, off-duty deputies were called in to beef up beach patrols and watch for sharks from the air and the water.
Florida averaged more than 30 shark attacks a year from 2000 to 2003, but there were only 12 attacks off the state's coast last year, said George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at University of Florida.
Experts said the two recent attacks did not indicate a trend.
"Shark attacks are in the realm of unpredictable phenomena," Dr. Samuel Gruber, a professor of marine and atmospheric science at the University of Miami.