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Authorities say the teenager was in waist deep water when the shark, which Taylor believed to be a dolphin, came towards her in a wave

By Stephanie Petit
April 04, 2017 11:04 AM
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shark-bite
Credit: Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

A high school softball player from Kentucky was attacked by a shark while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Destin, Florida. But she was able to escape by punching the shark, causing it to swim away.

Caitlyn Taylor, 17, was in town for a softball tournament when the incident occurred, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say the teenager was in waist deep water when the shark, which Taylor believed to be a dolphin, came towards her in a wave.

“Caitlyn says she turned around and the head of it was coming towards her with a wave and she said she turned to swim back to shore and she says she felt it just grab her and lift her off of the bottom,” the victim’s mother, Tracey, told WHAS 11.

Taylor told authorities the shark bit her in the legs and tugged on her before she punched it in the nose, causing the shark to the let her loose.

Witness say the shark was about five-feet long, but the type of shark was not identified.

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The Sheriff’s Office reported that Taylor received 80 stitches to her right leg while being treated at the Destin Emergency Room, although Taylor’s mother told WHAS 11 that the number of stitches was greater.

“There’s nothing minor about having to have 120-140 stitches,” she said, adding that her daughter also suffered cuts on her hand in addition to the jaw marks on both her legs.

Taylor later took to Twitter with pictures of her wounds.

“Beyond lucky to be alive and well and thank you to everyone for the support and wishes and I’m going to be okay, love you guys,” she captioned the post.

The victim’s sister, Paige, was also in the water when the attack occurred, according to WHAS 11.

“It was such a traumatizing event out there and I’m so lucky to still have my sister who is so strong and a such a fighter,” Paige wrote on Twitter.