Ella Reed has been to the beach countless times in her young life. In fact, she lives across the street from a beach in the beautiful coastal community of Fort Pierce, Florida.
However, what the 13-year-old didn’t expect when she flocked to the ocean last week was to come face-to-face with a shark as she sat in shallow water with a friend near a jetty.
That happened on Thursday, May 11, when what she believes was a bull shark left her with bites on her stomach, arm, knee and finger – requiring 19 stitches.
“The shark itself was so powerful,” Ella told local TV station WPLG in Miami.
She said she punched the shark, which she estimated to be about 5 or 6 feet long, but it fought back.
“I remember just breathing really heavily, and then when it latched on to my stomach, not being able to breathe at all because I was just like, ‘What the heck is happening?’” Ella recounted on NBC News.
As the shark first attacked her stomach, Ella said she shoved her arm in its face to block it, and the shark bit her arm instead. “Then I hit it with my other hand, like hit its nose or its face,” she said on TODAY.
Undeterred, the shark circled back to attack again.
Just as Ella yelled over to her friend who was swimming, telling her to run to safety, she jumped out of the water and called her family. Her mother ran outside as her daughter was coming up from the beach. She took her bloodied daughter to a local Fire Department, where paramedics then rushed her to the hospital, WPLG reported.
“It was insane because she was totally covered in blood pretty much head to toe, so you couldn’t really see what went on,” her mother, Devin Reed, told WPLG. “She was shaking, but she was calm.”
Ella said it was hard to sleep the first night because of the stitches, but she’s doing better now.
She told NBC News that her shocking encounter with a shark hasn’t discouraged her from pursuing her dream career of being a marine biologist.
Several shark incidents have recently been reported from around the world, including one in which an Australian teacher is presumed dead from an apparent shark attack after he went missing while surfing Saturday. And in a video captured Friday, Scott Haraguchi was on his kayak fishing over a mile offshore in Windward Oahu, Hawaii, when a tiger shark slammed into his boat.
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