Man hospitalized after shark attack off Haulover Beach

HAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A swimmer became the victim of a shark attack off Haulover Beach, causing a wave of concern because, officials said, this is the first recorded shark attack to take place off that beach.

It was supposed to be a fun day at the beach, Sunday afternoon, but for one swimmer, he left in an ambulance after a four to five foot bull shark attacked him.

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Sunny Isles Police spotted the marine predator too close for comfort, Sunday, at around 3 p.m.

Officials said the shark was heading closer to shore near Tower 16. “We started closing down the beach and actually bringing everybody into shore, flying double red flags in our tower,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Matthew Sparling.

But as beachgoers were evacuated, the victim was attacked.

“I thought it was just a joke,” said beachgoer Natarrio Ferguson.

The bull shark, known for its aggressive and unpredictable behavior, seemingly went after both of the victim’s legs.

Speaking with 7News in Spanish, a witness described the terrifying ordeal. “The young man got out of the water with a serious knee injury,” said Marcelo Febrino.

Officials said the swimmer suffered deep gashes. A photo sent to 7News by MDFR shows a first responder treating his injuries.

Paramedics transported the victim to Aventura Hospital.

A Twitter user posted cellphone video of what he said was a shark sighting last weekend.

But officials indicated such incidents in general are very uncommon in this part of South Florida. “I’ve worked here 20 years, and I’ve never had one,” said Sparling. “After some research, I’ve never seen an unprovoked shark attack in Miami-Dade County. Broward’s had a few, and the State of Florida is the shark attack capital of the world, but it tends to be north in the Palm Beaches, Vero Beach, areas like New Smyrna Beach.”

After Saturday’s attack, Ferguson said he’s going to be more careful about where he spends his time out in the sun. “The only thing you could do is stay on the sidelines, probably put my feet in or go to a pool,” he said. “That’s pretty much it as far as it goes with me.”

Ocean Rescue said they have had shark sightings in this area over the last 10 days.

“He was alert and conscious. I would say he was in pretty good shape for what happened to him,” said Miami-Dade Fire Ocean Rescue Lt. Grace Mangas.

The victim is expected to be OK.

Officials said the shark in Sunday’s incident was last spotted heading south.

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