Boy's leg partially amputated after shark attack off Florida Keys

·2 min read

A boy was bitten by a shark on Saturday while snorkeling off the Florida Keys. Jameson Reeder Jr., 10, had part of his leg amputated as a result of the attack, according to a man who identified himself on Facebook as the boy's uncle.

In a statement to CBS News, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it had received a report from the Monroe County Sheriff's office that Reeder Jr. was bitten by a shark while snorkeling at Looe Key Reef around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Reeder Jr., who was on vacation with his parents and his siblings, "took a crushing blow to the leg," his uncle, Joshua Reeder, wrote on Facebook. His family believes it was an 8-foot bull shark.

Jameson Reeder Jr.  / Credit: GiveSendGo
Jameson Reeder Jr. / Credit: GiveSendGo

Despite the attack, the boy was able to stay on a float, the Facebook post continued, and his family pulled Reeder Jr. out of the water. They applied a tourniquet to his leg and called for help.

A larger boat took the boy and his mother to shore, where he was airlifted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, his uncle said.

The boy's leg was amputated below the knee, and his uncle said he is stable and now recovering. A crowdfunding page for the family has received over $50,000.

The news comes as the number of shark attacks in the United States continues to rise. According to the Shark Attack File, 38% of all the shark attacks globally in 2021 occurred in Florida.

Just days before Reeder Jr. was attacked, a 13-year-old was bitten in the face by a shark while swimming off the Florida Keys, CBS Miami reported. The teen received at least 10 stitches in his upper lip and was expected to make a full recovery.

And, during a two-week span last month, five shark attacks were reported on Long Island, New York.

While shark bites and sightings are increasing, experts say that swimmers shouldn't be scared to go in the water. The chance of being killed by a shark is 1 in 3,748,067, according to the Florida Museum. Swimming in the ocean is far less risky than riding in a car.

In an interview with CBS News' Michael George, Christopher Paparo, manager of the Marine Science Center at Stony Brook-Southampton, pointed to conservation efforts as one reason behind the uptick.

"The sharks that are most common in our areas, that are interacting with people these days, are sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks and dusky sharks," Paparo said. "You can't do anything with those fish. And by doing that, they've made a rebound."

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