Girl dies in rare Florida shark attack

June 27, 2005 at 8:38 AM
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DESTIN, Fla., June 27 (UPI) -- Experts Monday were trying to determine why an 8-foot bull shark attacked and killed a 14-year-old girl off the coast of northern Florida during the weekend.

An autopsy was scheduled for Jamie Daigle of Gonzales, La., who, along with a friend, was about 250 yards offshore Saturday when the shark clamped onto her leg. A 54-year-old man nearby rushed to her and told the Miami Herald he punched the shark and tried to distract it away from her.

It made several more rushes at the badly bleeding girl before swimmers were able to tow her to shore on a surfboard. She died of blood loss before reaching the hospital.

George Burgess, a University of Florida shark researcher who was at the beach near Destin said the attack was not normal for Florida waters.

"Usually a shark will make a mistake, thinking it's a fish," Burgess said. "In this instance, the shark apparently very knowingly went after a large prey item and persistently tried to follow through on its normal feeding behavior, which would be to come back and attack again and again."

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