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SWFD Responds to Shark related incidents

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June 07, 2024 | FLORIDA MACKENZIE MCCLINTOCK, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. --- South Walton Fire District and Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to two shark related incidents Friday afternoon. Two people were critically injured, and one other person suffered minor injuries.

The first incident originated around 1:20 p.m. when multiple 911 callers reported an approximately 45-year-old woman was bitten by a shark as she was swimming past the first sandbar near WaterSound Beach. Bystanders began rendering care to the woman before SWFD lifeguards and WCSO deputies arrived on-scene.

Once they arrived on-scene, they found the woman sustained critical injuries on her hip and lower left arm. They initiated treatment, then SWFD firefighters continued care and transported the patient to Walton Air Rescue. The patient was airlifted to a local trauma facility to receive further treatment for her injuries.

The second incident took place near Seacrest Beach at approximately 2:55 p.m., four miles east of the first incident. It involved two female patients who were approximately 15 years old. According to bystanders, the individuals were in waist deep water with a group of friends when the incident occurred.

When lifeguards and deputies arrived on-scene, they found one of the females had significant injuries to the upper leg and one hand. The other female had minor injuries on one foot. The patient with significant injuries was treated on-scene, then transported by SWFD firefighters to Okaloosa MedFlight. She was then airlifted to a trauma facility for further treatment. SWFD also transported the second patient to the hospital.

Following the incidents, beach flags were changed to double red Friday to indicate the water was closed for swimming out of an abundance of caution. SWFD will reevaluate the water Saturday morning to determine the flag conditions.

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