Teen Critical After Second Shark Attack

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Posted by on June 28, 2005 at 09:23:20:

In Reply to: Shark Attacks 2nd Teen Off Fla. Panhandle posted by on June 27, 2005 at 18:28:54:

By BILL KACZOR Associated Press Writer

CAPE SAN BLAS, Fla. (AP) -- A 16-year-old boy who lost a leg following the second shark attack in three days along the Florida Panhandle was in critical condition Tuesday and facing more surgery.

Craig Adam Hutto, of Lebanon, Tenn., was fishing in waist-deep water about 60 feet from shore with his brother and a friend Monday when the shark grabbed his right thigh, nearly severing the leg, said Capt. Bobby Plair of the Gulf County Sheriff's Office.

Physicians later amputated the leg. Dr. Reed Finne, a cardiovascular surgeon at Bay Medical Center in Panama City, said Tuesday the limb had suffered irreparable damage to blood vessels and nerves between the hip and knee, as well as to most of the surrounding muscle.

On Saturday, 14-year-old Jamie Marie Daigle died from her injuries after her leg was mutilated by a bull shark about 80 miles away, near Destin.

The number of shark attacks rises in the summer because that's when the animals come closer to shore to search for food and there are more people at the beach, said John Tyminski, a senior biologist with the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

"It's a sharky time of year," said Tyminski.

"When there is a greater number of people in the water with a greater number of sharks ... you will get more collisions," said Samuel Gruber, a professor of marine and atmospheric science at the University of Miami.

It was too soon to tell if Hutto suffered any brain damage from blood loss, Finne said. In 2001, a 9-year-old Mississippi boy, Jesse Arbogast, suffered severe brain damage from blood loss when a shark tore off his arm as he swam near Pensacola.

"We're hopeful. He's young, he's healthy. He should be OK, but he's still sick," Finne said of Hutto.

He said the boy would undergo additional surgery Tuesday to clean what remains of his leg and will be treated for possible tendon damage to his hands suffered when he fought the shark.

A doctor, some nurses and a paramedic who happened to be nearby on the beach began treatment as soon as the teen was ashore, and that swift action probably saved his life, said Shane McGuffin, Gulf County's medical services director.

The attack on Hutto was witnessed by Karen Eaker, 42, of Horn Lake, Miss.

"Within five seconds it was obvious there was something wrong," Eaker said. "We had heard the word 'shark' and then we saw the red water and the tug-of-war going on between the brother and the shark."

From the beach, Hutto was taken to Panama City's Bay Medical Center, where the leg was amputated. His family members, including the brother who was with him in the surf, declined to comment at the hospital.

Gulf County's Board of County Commissioners closed the county's beaches until at least midday Tuesday. Helicopter crews were to fly over the water to check for sharks before any order reopening the beaches.

There has been no indication that Monday's attack caused any visitors to leave, said Paula Ramsey Pickett, executive director of the Gulf County Tourism Development Council.

"We think this is definitely an isolated incident, even though the timing was poor considering" the fatal attack on Daigle, she said. The council was passing out a pamphlet to visitors giving tips on avoiding shark attacks.

Daigle, of Gonzales, La., had been had been swimming with a friend about 100 yards from shore in neighboring Walton County when a shark bit her in the leg. Paramedics and an air ambulance crew were unable to revive her. Destin-area beaches reopened Sunday.

Florida averaged more than 30 attacks a year from 2000 to 2003, but had only 12 last year, said George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He attributed the drop to the four hurricanes that hit Florida last year, keeping residents and visitors away from beaches.

Florida Museum-Sharks

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