Fla. boy, 13, bitten by shark, is in good condition

Bite follows fatal attacks in N.C., Virginia Beach

September 09, 2001|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

MIAMI - A 13-year-old boy got an unfriendly greeting from an underwater creature Friday while he walked in murky water about 4 feet deep off Key Biscayne near Miami.

Patrick Homer, who says he believes that it was a nurse shark that bit him on the left leg, was in good condition and spirits when he told his story about an hour after the attack.

Patrick said he was not initially fearful when he saw the animal as he walked toward his tree fort out on the flats near his home.

"I thought, `Just a shark; probably won't bug me,'" Patrick said. "I got nervous when it started following me."

When the shark was about three feet away, Patrick said, he began to run.

After a few minutes, he said, he thought the shark had left, so he paused in the water. That's when the shark grabbed onto the lower part of his left leg.

"I felt teeth," Patrick said. "It felt like a couple of needles.

"It hurt a lot. I was yelling and screaming, `Help!'"

Patrick said the pain increased, so he collapsed into the water to get leverage against the animal.

The attack comes four days after a man died and a woman was critically injured in a shark attack off North Carolina's Outer Banks. Two days before the Labor Day fatality, a shark in the waters off Virginia Beach, Va., killed a 10-year- old boy - marking the nation's first fatal shark attack this year.

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