FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Canadian boy was apparently bitten by a shark Wednesday morning while vacationing with his family in Fort Lauderdale.
Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan, a spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Department, said the boy was taken to Broward Health Medical Center after he was bitten on the foot while swimming in the ocean across from the Ritz-Carlton.
Christian Mariani, 11, was in the water when something latched onto his foot, he told reporters at Broward Health Medical Center.
Witnesses said he screamed for help.
Christian said he was bleeding and in pain as his father and older brother helped him out of the water.
"It was really scary because I knew something bit me, but just the fear of not knowing what bit you and what, what's going to happen to your foot after that is the scariest feeling that, I think, I have ever experienced in my life," he said.
Firefighters treated Christian at the scene for two cuts to the bottom of his foot.
"It was just covered in blood and sand, of course," Christian said. "And it probably hurt more than it was supposed to because of the salt water, of course, on the beach."
Dr. Francis Amador, who treated the boy, also spoke about the wound.
"It was semi-circular," Amador said. "I would say like 6 to 8 inches from pretty much one side to the other side. He has multiple lacerations, small ones."
Doctors gave Christian 17 stitches, painkillers and antibiotics.
Despite the terrifying experience, Christian said he still plans to swim at the beach.
"I'll still go in, but I'm going to definitely look around before everywhere I go," he said.
Doctors are keeping Christian in a wheelchair for the time being because they want him to keep the weight off his foot while it heals.