Summer in South Walton Starts With Two Shark Attacks

In Brief:

  • Two shark attacks occurred on June 7th in South Walton County, injuring three people, with two in critical condition.
  • The first attack near WaterSound Beach involved a 45-year-old woman who suffered severe injuries, leading to the amputation of her arm.
  • The second attack at Seacrest Beach involved two teenage girls, with one sustaining severe injuries to her leg and hand.

Two shark attacks occurred just 4 miles from each other along the beaches of South Walton County, injuring three people, two of which were in critical condition.


Authorities received notice of a shark-related incident around 1:20 p.m. near WaterSound Beach, a small community along Scenic Highway 30a.


Bystanders reported that the female victim, in her 40s, was swimming past the first sandbar when she was attacked by a shark, leaving her with substantial injuries to her midsection, pelvic area, and left arm, eventually resulting in the amputation of the lower portion of her arm.


The woman received treatment from South Walton firefighters before being airlifted to a local trauma facility by Walton Air Rescue.


Just an hour and a half later, authorities received notice of a second attack at Seacrest Beach, just four miles east of the location of the first incident. Bystanders reported that the victims, two teenagers, were standing in waist-deep water when a shark attacked them. Deputies arrived at the scene moments later to find that one victim sustained severe injuries to the upper leg and hand, and the other victim suffered minor injuries to the foot. One of the victims, who suffered severe injuries, was treated on-scene before being airlifted to a local trauma center.


Walton County has seen only two previous shark attacks in recent years, one injuring a boy in 2021 and another resulting in the death of a teenage girl in 2005.


Unprovoked shark attacks are exceedingly rare, with only 69 cases reported worldwide in 2023. However, 16 of those cases occurred in Florida.


There are no reliable estimates of how many sharks live in the world’s oceans, but scientists say they have logged more than 500 species.

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