A 30-year-old Florida man faces multiple surgeries and physical therapy to recover from a shark bite on his foot.
Dustin Theobald was lying on a surfboard in two feet of water off Florida’s Fernandina Beach on Friday, July 13, when he felt a tug on his right foot. He shook his foot, and felt a sharper grip.
Theobald reached down and felt the skin of a shark.
“I touched its head, I could feel it was rough skin,” he told Fox News. “It wasn’t like a fish skin. You know, shark skin has got a rough edge.”
The shark ripped open the top of Theobald’s foot, tearing through nerves and tendons. The shark’s teeth also gashed the bottom of his foot.
“I knew it was open,” he said. “As soon as I took my first step I could tell that the bottom of my foot was open.”
When he realized what had happened Theobald’s first thought was to get everyone out of the water.
“I was trying to usher everyone out, there were a lot of people around me that I felt should probably get out of the water,” Theobald told FirstCoastNews.
“As soon as I got out of the water blood started pouring out and there was a trail of blood all the way up to the life guard stand,” he said.
Theobald was transported to Baptist Medical Center Nassau for immediate treatment, and then to UF Health Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, where doctors told him it would probably take six weeks to recover from the wound.
The bite severed nerves, so Theobald has no feeling in the foot. According to a GoFundMe [WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS] page set up by his brother Cameron, Theobald will need at least two surgeries and much physical therapy before he can get back to his job as a self-employed handyman.
On his Facebook [WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS] page Theobald posted, “Well i know most of you heard about the shark attack today so I’ll drop some pics but i wanna say thanks to everyone for calling and texting. It’s crazy that it happened, on Friday the thirteenth no less, but don’t let this scare you from getting in the water. This is a one and a million thing and i promise you it won’t stop me.”
Indeed, Theobald did get lucky. He was in the water with his 8-year-old son—his son could have been bitten instead.
“I’ve never been worried about them [sharks], never been scared of them, we’ve seen them out there when we’re surfing,” Theobald told WJXT. “I think it was just the luck of the draw—being in murky water and just bad timing.”
Second Attack Minutes Later
Around 3:38 in the afternoon, a few minutes after Dustin Theobald was bitten, another swimmer suffered a shark bite about mile to the south.
That victim, a 17-year-old youth form Georgia, sustained puncture wounds on his foot. He was also taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in Jacksonville for treatment, WJXT reported.
Fernandina Beach city officials closed the beach for the rest of the day.
Prior to these on July 13, there had been only four confirmed shark attacks in Florida’s Nassau county in the past 135 years.