A Florida woman is expected to make a full recovery after suffering an apparent shark bite in the Intracoastal Waterway off Fort Lauderdale Sunday afternoon.
Broward Health Medical Center officials said 22-year-old Jessica Vaughn was resting comfortably Monday after undergoing a two-hour surgery a day earlier.
Vaughn said she was swimming from a boat to an inner tube while with a group of friends when she felt something hit her right leg.
“I jump in, start swimming out to the tube, and I get hit by something,” Vaughn said Monday, “and then I realize that my leg is cut open. It was scary … It felt like a punch, and I didn’t notice the back of it until [my friends] pulled me up on the boat, and I could see teeth marks on the back,” she said.
Vaughn’s friends got her back in the boat and took her to a nearby dock, where they were met by Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue personnel, who took her to a nearby hospital. The department’s public information officer later Tweeted agraphic image of Vaughn’s injury.
“It was probably the largest shark bite that I have seen,” plastic surgeon Dr. Zoran Potparic of Broward Health Medical Center told WSVN. However, doctors say Vaughn only sustained puncture wounds, as well as an open wound with muscle damage. No blood vessels or nerves were damaged. She is expected to be in a splint for several weeks.
Officials believe the shark that bit Vaughn was a bull shark, which is known to travel inland waterways like the Intracoastal.
“I feel so very lucky,” Vaughn said. “It’s true. I think about it. I can’t believe it happened, especially me.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.