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Beaches Open After 2 Shark Attacks in Walton County, Florida - Victim Update

Shark attacks in Florida leave victims in critical condition. Beaches reopen as officials urge caution in the water.

On Saturday, June 8, the beaches in Walton County, Florida were reopened after two shark attacks occurred the day before. The South Walton Fire District changed the flags from double red to single red and purple, indicating hazardous water conditions and possible dangerous marine life. The shark attacks took place between Miramar Beach and Panama City Beach.

The first attack happened around 1:20 p.m. on Friday, June 7, when a 45-year-old woman was swimming past the first sandbar near Founders Land in Watersound Beach. She was airlifted to a local hospital and is in critical condition with severe injuries, including the loss of her lower left arm. The second attack occurred just before 3 p.m. near Inlet Beach, where two teenage girls, aged 15 and 17, were swimming with friends inside the first sandbar. One girl was airlifted to Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola and is in critical condition with severe injuries to her extremities. The other girl was taken to Ascension Bay Medical Center in Panama City Beach and is in stable condition with flesh wounds.

As of 8:05 a.m. CT on Saturday, June 8, the beaches in Walton County were reopened, with authorities monitoring the shoreline. This marks the first shark-related incidents in Florida in 2024. In 2023, there were 120 alleged shark-human interactions worldwide, with 69 confirmed unprovoked shark bites on humans. There were 14 shark-related fatalities in 2023, with three of them due to white shark bites on surfers in Australia.

The United States had 36 confirmed unprovoked shark bites in 2023, with Florida leading in the number of incidents. While there were 16 confirmed bites in Florida, none were fatal. The Florida East Coast saw the most shark attacks in the state. Overall, 2023 saw an increase in shark-related fatalities compared to the five-year average. The rise in fatalities could be attributed to the increasing number of white sharks near popular surfing beaches.

In conclusion, while shark attacks can be alarming, it's important to remember that they are rare occurrences. Authorities are taking measures to ensure the safety of beachgoers, and it's crucial for individuals to be aware of their surroundings while in the water.

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