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Florida Beach Vacation Hotspot Closes Following Back-to-back Shark Attacks


Following two shark attacks, Florida blocked miles of sugar-white sand beaches and blue waterways.

According to a press conference held by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the shark attacks occurred in “close proximity” to one another on Friday afternoon.

“We had two separate incidents earlier this afternoon near one another, about four miles apart and an hour and a half apart,” South Walton Fire District Fire Chief Ryan Crawford stated.

Law authorities did not clarify which types of sharks were involved in the assaults.

Walton County Fire Rescue and South Walton Fire District responded to reports on Friday afternoon at 1:20 p.m. that a 45-year-old lady had been mauled by a shark while visiting a famous tourist area.

According to authorities, the woman and her husband were swimming just beyond a sandbar when they were abruptly attacked.

Crawford described her injuries as “significant trauma to the midsection and pelvic area, as well as the amputation of her left lower arm.”

The man was airlifted to a local trauma center by the South Walton Fire District helicopter. Authorities stated that the woman was in “critical condition.”

At 2:56 p.m., the Walton County Sheriff’s Office reported a second shark accident at Seacrest Creek Beach.

According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, a shark attacked two female youths aged 15 to 17 years old.

Crawford stated that, similar to the first incident, the victims were swimming near a sandbar in waist-deep water when they were attacked.

“Victim one received significant injuries to one lower and one upper extremity,” Crawford stated. “Both [bites] required the application of tourniquets.”

Authorities reported that she was transported to a trauma center in Pensacola, Florida. She is still in “critical condition,” authorities added.

Crawford said the second juvenile victim had flash wounds to the foot and was transported by paramedics in stable condition.

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson stated that the two patients have a “fighting chance” thanks to the “continuity of care” provided by first responders.

“One of the most important things to remember in these situations is continuity of care,” Adkinson stated during the press conference. “This seamless operation between the folks at South Walton Fire District and the deputies at Walton County Sheriffs Office and Walton Air Rescue.”

“I think these two ladies have a fighting chance because of that professionalism,” he said.

Following the many shark attacks, Walton County closed several miles of Gulf of Mexico waters.

“Double red flags are now flying on the beaches in the surrounding area,” the Walton County Sheriff’s Office announced on social media. “The Gulf is now closed to the public in Walton County in the localized area of the incident.”

Adkinson stated that they are in contact with local shark specialists to determine if there is an anomaly in the attacks.

“We know that we share the waters with sharks,” he stated. “We understand that, as tragic as this is, there are always sharks in these waters, and we have to be careful and cognizant of that.”

Walton County, located on the Northwest Florida Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico, boasts 26 miles of magnificent beaches.

Walton County’s popular beaches include Seagrove, Rosemary, Santa Rosa, Grayton Beach State Park, Inlet, Blue Mountain, Miramar, and others.

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