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Expert confirms surfer was bitten by shark

By Gary Tuchman
CNN Atlanta Bureau

PENSACOLA, Florida (CNN) -- A shark expert confirmed Friday that a surfer was indeed bitten by a shark six days ago, making that two shark attacks in the same general area along the northwestern Florida Gulf Coast.

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Some questions had arisen about the attack on surfer Michael Waters, 48, who was bitten while on his surfboard off Pensacola Beach on Sunday.

Doctors operated on his foot and ankle that night at Sacred Heart Hospital and he was released Monday.

George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File confirmed Friday that Waters' wounds and the teeth marks on his surfboard were the hallmarks of a shark attack.

Waters told authorities he was paddling his board about 100 yards from shore to catch a wave, his left leg dangling in the water. He said he saw a school of small fish and a "dark shadow" just before his ankle was bitten.

Waters hit the shark with his surfboard, apparently scaring the creature.

"He let go and I started screaming bloody murder," Waters said.

Nine days earlier on July 6, 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast was wading in knee-deep water at the Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola when he was mauled by a 7-foot bull shark, which tore off his arm and a large portion of his thigh.

His uncle, Vance Flosenzier, wrestled the shark to shore and helped retrieve the boy's arm from the shark's mouth, allowing surgeons to reattach the limb in a nearly 12-hour procedure.

The injuries drained Jessie of nearly all his blood and left him without a pulse or blood pressure for nearly 30 minutes, which damaged nearly all of the boy's organs.

Jessie was upgraded from critical to serious condition Friday. He continues to receive kidney dialysis and doctors are still unclear about the extent of damage, if any, to his brain.






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• International Shark Attack File
• Gulf Islands National Seashore
• Pensacola

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