"I was in two feet of water, or less, lying on my stomach, watching him just playing in the surf and I felt something grab onto my foot and pull", the surfer, 30-year-old Dusting Theobald, told WJTX in an interview from the hospital. Shark encounters are relatively rare farther up Florida's Atlantic coastline and are nearly unheard of in northernmost Nassau County.
Fernandina Beach Fire Department ordered people out of the water due to potential risky marine life. "Right now, they left the wound open to clear out any bacteria or infection or anything like that", Theobald said.
Theobald said he didn't feel the pain from the shark bite until he got to the hospital. "I put my hand on his head - he was probably 4-5 feet [long] - and when I did that, he shook twice and when I did that he released and left".
"It looks like I might have some tendon damage", he adds.
Hero Aussie diver's emotional Thai cave rescue note
Some of the team have asked for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), steak, fried eggs and rice and barbecue pork. The youngest child, Chanin Wiboon Rungruang, 11, thanked the Thai Navy SEALS "for your support".
Minutes later Fernandina Beach police received a call about a 17-year-old who had been bitten on the foot while wading in shallow water just over a mile away from the first incident. And though he, too, is expected to recover, the reports caused authorities to evacuate all swimmers out of the water along the beach.
The second victim, an unidentified teen, was taken to University of Florida Health in Jacksonville with non-life-threatening puncture wounds to his foot.
Before that afternoon, only four shark attacks had been recorded in Nassau County in the last 135 years, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, compared to more than 800 across the state.
Double red flags are now being flown at all guarded beaches, and water is closed to the public until further notice.