shark attack graphic with shark fin

Florida County Closes Beaches After Consecutive Shark Attacks

Walton County, Florida, has closed its beaches following two shark bite incidents. These attacks happened back-to-back on Friday, causing concern among officials and residents.

The incidents occurred in the Florida Panhandle, about 4 miles apart. Mackenzie McClintock, a spokesperson for the South Walton Fire District, stated that the attacks did not occur near a boat. However, it is unclear how far the attacks happened from land.

The first attack injured a 45-year-old woman around 1:20 p.m. at Watersound Beach. She was swimming with her husband past the first sandbar when a shark bit her. The woman suffered significant trauma to her midsection, pelvic area, and lost her left lower arm. She was taken to a medical center in critical condition but is now stable.

After this attack, double red flags were flown at surrounding beaches, and the Gulf in Walton County was closed to the public. The second attack happened at 2:56 p.m. at Seacrest Beach. Two girls, aged 15 to 17, were bitten while swimming just inside the first sandbar.

The first girl had significant injuries to her upper and lower extremities and was transported to a trauma center in critical condition. The second girl suffered flesh wounds to her right foot and is now stable.

Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson praised the quick response of citizens and first responders, which gave both critically injured victims a fighting chance. Officials have contacted experts at Mote Marine in Sarasota to investigate the unusual dual attacks.

The type of shark involved in these incidents remains unknown. Following the second attack, all waters in Walton County were closed to the public. The water reopened on Saturday with a red flag indicating high surf and strong currents, and a purple flag warning of stinging marine life.

Authorities continue to monitor the situation and urge caution among beachgoers.

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