A Devastating Shark Attack

Brother dives into water and fights off 9 feet long shark to free sister from its jaws

It was just a regular family outing at the beach in Florida when something unimaginable happened – a shark attacked. Addison Bethea, a 17-year-old girl, found herself in the jaws of a 9-foot-long shark, with her right leg trapped in its grip.
During her recovery at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Addison shared her terrifying experience with CNN. She knew that punching the shark’s nose was her best chance of being released, but she couldn’t quite reach i

A Brave Fight Against a Ferocious Shark
But Addison was not ready to give up without a fight. In her own words, she said, “So I just started socking it in the face and then poked its eyes…” Unfortunately, her attempt to use her fingers to pry the shark’s mouth open only made things worse. The shark bit her hand! Addison Bethea, 17, of Perry, Fla., shown here with her brother, is recovering at TMH following a shark attack on Thursday, June 30, off the coast of Keaton Beach.
Addison Bethea with her brother, Rhett Willingham, at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare following a shark attack on Thursday, June 30, off the coast of Keaton Beach.

Thankfully, Addison’s brother Rhett Willingham, an EMT and firefighter, was there and quickly sprang into action. He heard his sister’s cries and saw her struggling in the water, along with the blood. Without hesitation, Rhett swam towards her, ready to rescue her from the shark’s clutches.
In a brave act, Rhett fought the shark in just 5 feet of water and managed to pull Addison into his boat. As a first-aid measure, he tied a tourniquet around her leg. By the time they reached Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, the shark had caused significant damage. The hospital stated that Addison had suffered “devastating damage to the soft tissue in her right leg,” resulting in the loss of her quadriceps muscle and severe nerve and vascular damage.
Sadly, this meant that Addison had to undergo the amputation of her right leg above the knee. However, her family shared on Facebook that the surgery was successful. To support Addison’s rehabilitation and medical expenses, well-wishers have set up a GoFundMe page.
The road to recovery for Addison will be long and costly, but her spirits remain high. In fact, she jokes about giving the shark a good beating and even hopes to return to the ocean as soon as possible. Her reasoning is simple and inspiring: “I lived 17 years without a shark attack. I’m fine with going back.”

Are Shark Attacks Increasing?
The International Shark Attack File (ISAF) maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History reveals that there has been a rise in shark attacks. Among all the places worldwide, Florida has witnessed the highest number of shark bites for several decades. The primary culprits behind these attacks are blacktip sharks.[2]
In Florida, Daytona Beach and Volusia County account for 63% of the total shark attacks in the state. The surge in shark attacks can be attributed to the increasing number of beachgoers, particularly in Florida.
However, there is a silver lining – the number of fatal shark attacks is decreasing. This is thanks to improved safety measures on beaches and a decline in the shark population in coastal waters. Additionally, 51% of shark attack victims were either surfers or swimmers. In the surf zone, sharks have impaired vision due to sediment, causing them to mistake surfers for their usual prey – seals.
Here are some helpful tips from the Florida Museum to avoid shark attacks