A teenage girl who lost part of her leg in a horrific shark attack has been pictured for the first time.
Addison Bethea, 17, was collecting scallops in just five feet of water off a Florida beach when a nine-foot shark suddenly lunged at her.
Her brother Rhett Willingham, 22, bravely waded into the bloodied water and kicked the shark as he grabbed his sister and took her back to shore.
Emergency services rushed to the scene at Keaton Beach on Thursday afternoon and Addison was treated on the beach before being airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial hospital. She went in for surgery at the hospital and lost a part of her leg. She is waiting to have another operation on Saturday.
Reliving the moment he saved his sister’s life, Rhett said on TV show Good Morning America: “I swam over there, grabbed her, and then pushed them all, kind of trying to separate them. And he just kept coming. So I grabbed her, swam backwards and kicked him and then yelled for help.”
Addison told the station that she had tried to “punch” the shark after it came up and bit her.
“And the next thing I know something latches onto my leg and I was like that’s not right. And then I look and it’s a big old shark,” she said from her hospital bed.
“Then I remember from watching the Animal Planet to like…punch [it] in the nose or something like that. And I couldn’t get around to his nose the way he bit me.”
Addison’s dad, Shane Addison, described how the shark attacked his daughter’s right leg, leaving a “nasty, nasty wound”.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “Addison thought her brother was just playing around until a 9-foot shark latched onto her thigh and she started screaming, and there was blood everywhere.”
“The shark got her bad,’ Shane said. ‘She was very pale, and nearly going into shock,” he added.
A statement from Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare said that Rhett probably saved the teen’s life by fighting off the shark and then putting a tourniquet on her leg to reduce the blood loss to the severe injury and kept her conscious.
Addison, who was a cheerleader and enjoyed playing tennis, is currently in hospital waiting to have another operation. Surgeons hope to salvage enough tissue from her lower leg in order for it to be suitable for prosthetics to be fitted.
Following the attack, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office urged swimmers and scallopers to be vigilant and practice shark safety.
“Some rules to follow are: never swim alone, do not enter the water near fishermen, avoid areas such as sandbars (where sharks like to congregate), do not swim near large schools of fish and avoid erratic movements while in the water.”