10-year-old boy gets leg amputated after traumatic shark attack in Florida, family says

·3 min read

A 10-year-old boy had his leg amputated after he was attacked by a shark in the Florida Keys over the weekend, his family shared on social media.

Jameson Reeder Jr. was snorkeling while on vacation with family when the "very traumatic event occurred," Jameson's uncle, Joshua Reeder, wrote in a Sunday Facebook post.

The family believes an 8-foot bull shark attacked and bit Jameson below his knee, Reeder wrote. His family rushed to rescue Jameson, who was staying afloat on a swimming noodle, and "tourniqueted his leg above the bite to slow/stop the bleeding."

Soon, a nearby boat came to help Jameson to shore. A helicopter then airlifted him to the hospital, Reeder added.

In an email to USA TODAY Tuesday morning, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said a final report was not available yet – but the agency did confirm the shark attack.

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"The FWC received a report from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, August 13 at approximately 4:30 p.m. that an 11 year old boy had been the victim of a shark bite while snorkeling at Looe Key Reef," FWC wrote in a statement. "The FWC would like to extend our heartfelt best wishes to Jameson Reeder, Jr. and his family during his recovery."

In his Facebook post, Reeder said that his nephew is 10 years old but will turn 11 in the coming weeks.

At the hospital, Jameson had to have his leg amputated below his knee due to the shark bite, Reeder said. But he survived.

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"They arrived safely to the hospital and swung into action right away. They had to remove/amputate from just below the knee to save his life as it was not operable from the damage the shark had caused," Reeder wrote. "They said the shark made the decision for him and wasn’t anything they could do to save it. But his life was spared. Thank you Yeshua/Jesus!!!"

He added that the surgery went well and Jameson has been able to rest since.

USA TODAY reached out to Reeder for further updates.

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In 2021, Florida remained the top state in the number of shark bites, with 28 reports. That represents 60% of all unprovoked attacks across the U.S.

As of August 16, there have been 32 shark attack across the U.S. so far this year – with 19 in Florida, six in New York, two in California and three in South Carolina – according to TrackingSharks.com.

Shark attacks are very rare, and are often not fatal. Still, the FWC recommends numerous safety steps to reduce your chances of being bitten – including always staying in groups, avoiding the water at dark and never harassing a shark.

Contributing: Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida shark attack: 10-year-old gets leg amputated after bite