Girl, 14, Dies in Florida Shark Attack

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Posted by on June 25, 2005 at 18:22:55:

In Reply to: fatal shark attack posted by stephen clark on June 25, 2005 at 17:11:33:

DESTIN, Fla., June 25 (AP) - A 14-year-old girl died on Saturday after a shark attacked her while she and another girl were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, the authorities said.

The teenagers were swimming on boogie boards about 100 yards offshore when they noticed a dark shadow in the water, the authorities said. The other girl was not injured, said Donna Shank, a spokeswoman for the Walton County sheriff.

Both girls swam to shore, and the victim was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Ms. Shank said. The authorities did not release the name of the girl, who was on vacation from Louisiana.

It was not clear what type of shark attacked her, said Stan Kirkland, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"The girl was some distance off from the shore," Mr. Kirkland said. "I don't think anyone got a good view of the shark."

The attack happened near the Camping on the Gulf Holiday Travel Park, in the Florida Panhandle about 45 miles east of Pensacola.

Patrick O'Neill, the campground's general manager, declined to comment.

About 20 miles of beaches were closed to swimmers shortly after the attack. It is the height of the summer tourism season along the coast, and the beaches were packed.

"This doesn't happen very often at all - very, very seldom," said Mike McKee, the front desk supervisor at the nearby Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort and Spa.

There were 12 attacks off the coast of Florida last year, though none resulted in death. The last fatal shark attack in the United States happened in August 2004, when Randall Fry, 50, was killed off the Northern California coast.

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