The 17-year-old girl says she'll be back in the ocean as soon as she's healed
A Florida teenage girl who was attacked by a shark Thursday, June 30, while scalloping off the coast of Keaton Beach has had to have her leg amputated.
Addison Bethea, 17, of Perry, said she felt something tap her leg before an estimated 9-foot shark attempted to pull her underwater. Fortunately, Bethea’s brother, Rhett Willingham who’s a firefighter/EMT, was close by and helped her fight off the shark and tended to her wounds.
"She was fighting the shark. She tried to pull it off of her leg with her bare hands," her mother told FOX 35 News. "She’s got bite marks on her hand."
Bethea underwent two surgeries at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare in an attempt to save her leg, but ultimately her leg had to be amputated.
"She suffered devastating injury to her upper right leg, including the loss of her quadriceps, the four muscles in the front of the thigh that work together to keep the kneecap stable and allow for lower leg extension. The bite also caused massive nerve and vascular damage," the hospital wrote on Facebook. "The injuries to Addison’s leg are so extensive that they will require amputation just above the right knee, which will take place during surgery on Tuesday."
Bethea’s mother said amputation is the best option to “get her back to the most normal life possible."
Bethea has a long road to recovery and must undergo extensive rehabilitation, but the teen is staying upbeat. In fact, she says she’ll be back in the ocean as soon as she heals.
"Addison got a little emotional today when we told her about the amputation," her mother said, according to the post. "But she has accepted it, and she knows this is her best path forward. She’s embracing it and trying to keep a positive outlook."
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Bethea and her family with medical expenses.
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.