A Key West man was flown to a Miami-Dade hospital Saturday after a shark bit him in the leg while he was kite surfing, according to police.
This is the fifth significant shark bite in the waters surrounding the island chain over the past 12 months.
Shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday, Key West police went to Garrison Bight Marina where city fire-rescue paramedics were applying a tourniquet to the leg of the bite victim, 67-year-old Kevin Carlton Scott, who lives in Key West, according to the police incident report.
His wife, Laurie Scott, 63, said her husband was kite boarding about six miles offshore in Blue Fish Channel when he was bitten, the report states. She told police she was in their boat when she heard him scream.
After getting him on board, she called 911 and headed for shore.
Key West Police Officer Santiago Perez said in the report that Scott had “lacerations to his right calf consistent with [a] shark bite.”
Paramedics took him to Lower Keys Medical Center, and from there Monroe County’s helicopter ambulance took him to Jackson South Medical Center in Kendall, said county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood.
Scott declined to comment when reached Tuesday morning.
Laurie Scott told police her husband is “an experienced boat captain and an experienced kite boarder,” Perez wrote in the report.
Recent bite incidents
Several shark bites have made international headlines since April, especially two over the summer. Among them:
▪ In August, a 10-year-old North Carolina boy lost part of his leg when a large shark bit him as he snorkeled off Looe Key.
▪ In June, a 35-year-old Texas woman was severely injured after a shark bit her on the leg after she jumped off a pontoon boat off Sawyer Key, which, like Looe Key, is in the Lower Keys.
▪ In January, a Romanian man suffered bites to his thigh, knee and calf area after being bitten by what police said was a large shark while he was swimming at the outer mole of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West.
▪ And, almost a year ago, a man was bitten by a shark on the leg while hanging out in the water on the popular Whale Harbor sandbar off Islamorada, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Shark bites are traumatic to victims, but marine scientists say it remains highly unlikely for people to have a dangerous encounter with one of the apex predators in the ocean, their natural habitat.
“It’s so unfortunate that the kite boarder experienced a shark bite. However, in the big picture, it’s important to remember that the frequency of shark bite events is minuscule when you consider the huge number of people entering the water around the Florida Keys for recreation, especially since travel opened again after the COVID-19 pandemic-caused travel restrictions,” Mahmood Shivji, professor of marine sciences at Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center, told the Miami Herald/FLKeysnews.com.
Shivji said given that so few of the huge numbers of people on South Florida’s warm ocean, bay and Gulf of Mexico waters are ever bitten by sharks, “it’s far more dangerous to get into a car and drive every day than it is to swim in the ocean.”