PERRY, Fla. — Authorities in Florida say a 17-year-old girl was seriously injured Thursday after a shark attacked her near Keaton Beach.
The Taylor County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook that the girl, who hospital officials later identified as Addison Bethea, was scalloping near Grassy Island in water approximately five feet deep when she was attacked by what was described as a 9-foot shark.
On Friday, the girl's family said that she poked the shark in the eyes and punched it before her brother, who is a firefighter/EMT, fought the animal off and pulled her onto a stranger's boat.
"Thanks to the help of her brother, Rhett Willingham and several other local boaters, Addison survived," Tallahassee Memorial Hospital said in a statement. "They were able to work together to tie a tourniquet to control the bleeding."
Bethea was airlifted to the hospital, where she is recovering.
According to the hospital, Bethea suffered "devastating damage to the soft tissue in her right leg."
She will undergo a second surgery Saturday so doctors can "further investigate the extent of the damage to her leg and determine what treatment options are available with the goal of saving her leg," the hospital said.