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Teen dives onto shark and gets bitten during Florida lifeguard training

FILE - A 14-year-old boy in Florida was bitten by a blacktip shark near New Smyrna Beach on July 8, 2024. Grilleau Nicola via Getty Images

A teen in Florida suffered terrible luck on Monday when he dove into the water at Ponce Inlet and landed on top of a shark, which bit his leg and caused injury.

The 14-year-old boy, who has not been publicly identified, dove into the water around 11:15 a.m. local time while participating in a junior lifeguard camp near New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County Beach Safety told the local news station WKMG.

He allegedly landed on top of a blacktip shark measuring between four and five feet (about 1.2 to 1.5 metres) in length.

The shark bit the boy’s calf and drew blood. The teenager was treated at the scene and was brought to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

CBS News reported the teenager had been practicing water entries for lifeguard certification at the time of the incident.

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He is expected to make a full recovery.

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This is the third time someone near New Smyrna Beach Jetty has been bitten by a shark in the last seven days.

On Thursday, a 21-year-old unnamed Ohio man was hospitalized after his foot was bitten by a shark while reportedly playing football in “knee-deep water” at New Smyrna Beach. The injury was not life-threatening.

The next day, a 26-year-old Florida native’s foot was also bitten by a shark at New Smyrna Beach while wading in an inner tube. The injury was not life-threatening, and the man was brought to hospital for treatment.

It is unclear if the same shark bit all three victims, or if it was the same species of shark.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), sharks are commonly found in beaches and waterways in the state and are most active through April to October.

The authority said while there is no guaranteed way to avoid shark bites, swimmers are encouraged to remain aware of their surroundings and stay vigilant for sharks that may swim nearby.

Shark bites remain very rare, the commission reported. In fact, someone is 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning in Florida than they are to be bitten by a shark in the state.

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“Experts agree that the increase in the number of shark bites in recent years is more related to an increase in human visitors than to an increase in shark populations or activity,” the FFWCC wrote.

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