A 10-year-old girl was left with 40 stitches after she bravely fought off a shark that suddenly attacked her as she celebrated her birthday on a Florida beach.
Peyton Shields’ family get-together on Crescent Beach, in Baker County, took a terrifying turn shortly after the birthday girl waded into waist-deep water.
Having only been at the beach for an hour, Peyton, just a short distance from the shore, started struggling and screaming out in pain for her parents to help.
Peyton’s dad Steve Shields said he immediately spotted his daughter in discomfort and presumed she’d been stung by a jellyfish.
Peyton Shields turned 10 last weekend, but the celebrations took a frightening turn when she entered waist-deep waters
Her parents initially thought she’d been stung by a jellyfish, until she emerged from the water with a series of bite marks
It wasn’t until he spotted a red mist forming in the water around Peyton that he says he realized that something much worse was unfolding.
‘I saw she had blood coming out of her hand and then I started going into, ‘What’s going on?’ Steve said to WJXT. ‘Then when she got out, I saw there was a lot more blood coming from the lower half.’
As a distressed Peyton staggered towards her parents, she told them of her terrifying encounter with a shark, which suddenly started attacking her.
The creature began by biting both of her legs and as she tried to push it away the shark took an addition chunk out of her left hand, before swimming off.
Peyton’s parents applied pressure on her wounds until paramedics arrived. Other children were in the water at the time of the attack but she was the only one harmed.
The 10-year-old was rushed to a near-by hospital where she was given 40 stitches by doctors, along with a series of bandages.
But fortunately brave Peyton was released just in time to attend her birthday party with friends, which ironically was ocean themed, on Saturday just a day after the attack.
he creature began by biting both of her legs, and as she tried to push it away the shark took an addition chunk out of her left hand, before swimming away
The incident happened on Crescent Beach, in Baker County last friday
And completely unfazed by the frightening encounter, Peyton insists she can’t wait to get back in the water again later this summer.
‘She’s mad because she can’t go swimming and get in the water and all that stuff. She said, ‘The sharks gone. I’m ready to get back in,’ Steve said. ‘We live in Florida. There’s sharks. There’s alligators. We’re going to go swim in the lake. We’re going to swim in the ocean. It is what it is.’
With her wounds to prove the incredible story, Steve says Payton has become somewhat of a celebrity among the local community.
‘My daughter got bitten by a shark. It’s, like, I don’t know anybody who has been bitten by a shark,’ he added. ‘Lucky Peyton.’
This is the second shark attack to happen in the North-eastern Florida and Southeast Georgia region this year.
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