A 3-year-old girl was wading in the water with her mother Sunday afternoon at a Florida beach said to be "the best beach for kids to go swimming at" when she was severely bitten by a shark.
A shark was spotted shortly after Jessica Veatch's daughter Violet was bitten at Bathtub Reef Beach in Martin County about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach.
Richard Traychuk, Veatch's boyfriend, told WPTV that Bathtub Reef Beach is "usually the best beach for kids to go swimming at."
"She was about two feet away from her. She heard Violet scream,” Traychuk told WPTV. “She turned around. Picked her up. Thought she had stepped on something and when she picked her up out of the water, she was missing a big chunk of her leg.”
He said the wound to the back side of the upper leg was "down to the bone; it was like a big hole."
Traychuk surmised the shark was drawn to the beach by teenage spearfishermen, who dragged a fish they had caught through the water.
"It doesn't take a brain scientist to know that you shouldn't bring bloody fish probably where people are swimming," he told WPTV.
Young child bitten by shark, Bathtub Reef Beach. Child flown to hospital with leg injuries. Bathtub Beach closed remainder of day. pic.twitter.com/gTDe69bmQK
— MartinCountySheriff (@MartinFLSheriff) August 27, 2017
Traychuk said a friend spotted a shark on the inside of the reef after the bite and estimated it to be 5 or 6 feet long.
The child, reported to be in stable condition after undergoing surgery, was transported to the pediatric intensive care unit at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
“The doctors are amazing after we saw the picture of the surgery and putting it all back together,” Traychuk told WPTV. “He said there might still be complications though due to the flap of the skin and putting it back on the wound.”
A plastic surgeon was to evaluate the wound Monday. Violet is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks.
The SunSentinel reported that the incident occurred around 1:20 p.m. and the beach was closed for the rest of the day.
Read more about sharks on GrindTV