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Teenager Fights Off Shark in Shallow Waters by Florida Beach

New research suggests attacks like these could be a greater risk than previously thought.

FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA — A young Florida teenager suffered a shark bite to her abdomen and lived to tell the tale.

Ella Reed, 13, found herself an unsuspecting victim of a nearly deadly shark attack as she was wading in the shallows on Fort Pierce Beach on Thursday.

“The shark itself was so powerful. That was what I felt the most because it was hitting my stomach really hard,” Reed told Local 10.

Reed punched what she believes was a six-foot bull shark, causing it to temporarily recoil before returning for another attack.

“It wouldn’t leave me alone, so I had to use my arm and use my hand too, so it got my arm and my finger,” Reed continued.

At that point, she began calling for help to her mother and brother, who were nearby.

“It was insane because she was totally covered in blood pretty much from head to toe so she couldn’t really see what went on,” Reed’s mother told the station.

Reed suffered bites to her stomach, arm, finger and knee. She wound up with 19 stitches and one incredible experience. Reed posted photos of her wounds on Instagram.

“I was kinda in shock about everything that happened, so I wasn’t really in pain because the adrenaline was through the roof,” she said.

With or without her adrenaline, Reed said she has no reservations about getting back in the ocean again.


Florida is a world leader in shark attacks. The state had more shark attacks in 2022 than any other country on earth, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.

Florida had 16 reported cases in 2022, more than the next two states combined. Although many believe sharks do not frequently swim in shallow waters, research from the University of Miami released in August 2022 suggests that sharks may swim closer to the beach than previously thought.

They aren’t always easy to spot either. Reed noted that the water was clear, adding: “You never really know when it’s going to happen.”