FLORIDA KEYS — A 13-year-old Florida boy catching lobsters with his family in the Florida Keys was bitten in the face by a nurse shark July 27, multiple outlets have reported.
Fischer Hricko, who had made the annual trek from Oviedo to the Keys with his family for lobster season, was in the water when the shark chomped down on his lip, according to WSVN.
“I saw a big one (lobster) and I got it in my hand,” he said. “On the way up, when I had the lobster in my hand, I felt a little tap on the back of my leg, and I looked behind me and the shark was in my face.”
The brave teen grabbed the shark to pull it from his face, WKMG reported.
“Then I just swam as fast as I could back to the boat, screaming,” he said.
His mother, Rhiannon, who was driving the boat, told Fox 35, “He just popped up screaming, ‘Mom, mom, shark! Get me out of here! Get me out of the water!”
The boy added, “It was scary, like, I tried getting away, but it was so fast.”
Fischer’s family rushed him to the hospital, where about 10 stitches closed the bite and stopped the bleeding.
There have been a handful of high-profile shark attacks in Florida this year. Early last month, a 17-year-old girl lost her leg after a shark bit her while she was scalloping with her family off the coast of Keaton Beach, about 80 miles south of Tallahassee.
Meanwhile, Fischer’s bite was one of three shark attacks in the Sunshine State within the last week alone, Fox Weather reported. A 33-year-old man was also bitten on the foot off Daytona Beach, while another man was bitten off the coast of Jacksonville Beach.
While media reports of sightings and attacks might make it seem as though these incidents have increased in the Sunshine State, a University of Florida shark expert said that isn’t accurate.
“Every summer, stories about shark attacks tend to get amplified, which can generate the false idea that things are different this year,” Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said in a news release from UF. “Globally, we’re on track for a very normal shark-bite year, with about 70-80 unprovoked around the world.”
Sharks don’t intentionally go after humans, the scientist added.
“Sharks don’t target humans,” he said. “Nearly every bite is due to mistaken identity. Sharks can’t see very well, especially in murky water, and they are simply following food.”
As of Aug. 1, there have been 31 shark attacks in the U.S. — six of them fatal and eight of them provoked — according to the website Tracking Sharks. Florida has seen the highest number of these attacks so far in 2022 with 18. Two of them were provoked, data shows.