A german tourist was attacked by a shark while swimmining in just waist-deep waters off Vero Beach, Florida, Wednesday (May 9, 2012). The woman suffered serious leg injuries but has been ungraded to stable condition. The shark bit into the left leg of Karin Ulrike Stei, 47, of Konstanz, Germany, who was about 30 yards from shore. Witnesses said the shark appeared to have bitten off a section of the woman’s leg in a single bite. Officials were not sure what type of shark it was but speculated that it was probably either a bull shark or tiger shark.
“She was the only one in the water. You could see her backpedaling, and then you just see a black cloud forming around her. And by the time she screamed again, we pretty much knew,” one witness, Michael Curran, told CBS Miami. “I started calling 911 as they dragged her onto the sand. Just saw, real bad shark bite.”
“It was from a foot above her knee to half her calf was just gone. It wasn’t like it was still there. It was just gone,” another witness, Scott Weston, told the station.
A rescue helicopter flew the woman to a hospital, where she underwent immediate surgery. Family members said they were hopeful her leg could be saved.
Local officials said shark attacks are rare in the Vero Beach area but that large schools of common bait fish swimming near the shore apparently attracted the shark. Shark attacks are much more common north along the Atlantic coast in Florida, with attacks most common in Volusia County, which has recorded 242 shark attacks since 1882.
Shark bites leg of swimmer at Vero Beach, Florida:
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