Teen speaks out about Hanna Park shark bite

Juliette Dryer reports. 4/16/2017

A teen who survived a shark bite to the foot Friday at Hanna Park tells First Coast News he plans to surf again.

“It hasn’t really kicked in,” Keanan Perry, 17, said.

“I still just wake up and I just feel injured, you know? I’m not like, ‘oh I got bit by a shark,’ just like ‘my foot’s hurt.’ That’s all I think.”

Perry said he was surfing and caught a wave all the way in to shore Friday and landed in a sandbar. He said as soon as his toes hit the sand, he felt something clamp down on his foot and ankle.

He never saw the shark and didn’t realize what happened until he pulled his foot out of the water.

“You can like see the rows of teeth on the very bottom. You can see it’s like nice, clean rows,” Perry said.

Perry flagged down a nearby fisherman, who held a towel to the wound. Another surfer used a wetsuit to apply pressure until medics arrived.

Perry was taken to the hospital. The shark tore his Achilles tendon and he underwent surgery to repair it.

Despite everything, Perry said he plans to surf again and hopes his story doesn’t deter other people from getting in the water.

“Like people say, it’s more likely to get struck by lightning than to get bit by a shark but… it just happened to me,” Perry said.

Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, an associate professor of Biology at the University of North Florida and the Director of UNF's Shark Biology Program, told First Coast News the only sure way to avoid shark bites is to stay out of the water. However, people can reduce their risk by avoiding times when sharks are more active, like dawn and dusk.

He recommends people fight back if a shark bites them in order to deter the shark.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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