Boaters are taking more precautions this holiday weekend after a teenage girl was attacked by a shark

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:47 PM EDT
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STEINHATCHEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Thursday afternoon 17-year-old Addison Bethea was scalloping when she was attacked by a shark off the coast of Keaton Beach suffering serious injuries to her leg.

“Rhett was tapping me and next thing I know something latches onto my leg and I’m like that’s not Rhett so then I looked and it’s a big ole shark,” said Bethea.

Scalloping master captain Kyle Skipper said although getting bit by a shark is a rare occurrence he and other boaters are taking more precautions.

“The spotter is really the biggest thing having someone that can watch for situations like that. Could it 100% prevent things like that no, but it makes it a lot easier to tell what’s going on when you have someone look? I think that’s the number one thing people do incorrectly everyone gets in the water and there’s no one watching for people’s safety.”

Visitors said they saw people swimming in the vicinity of where the shark attack happened. Master captain Butch Skipper is warning people this holiday weekend to be safe.

“You have to be aware of what’s going on and be careful out there and keep an eye out. The weather is a big concern we had people get struck by lightning last week.”

According to Addison’s father, her brother Rhett Willingham who is a firefighter jumped into action fighting off the shark and pulling her into another boat.

“I remembered from watching Animal Planet cause you’re supposed to punch them in the nose or something like that and I couldn’t get around to his nose the way he bit me,” said Bethea.

She was airlifted to a hospital in Tallahassee and medical professionals said she will undergo a second surgery Saturday in the hope of saving her leg.

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