“People shouldn’t be scared of the water,” Mom Christina Bieber said, “It was just: wrong place, wrong time.”
A 6-year-old boy in Florida is recovering after being attacked by a shark in waist-deep water in what his mother is calling a “freak accident.”
Nickolaus Bieber was at the beach with his parents in Jupiter, Fla., Tuesday night around 7 p.m. when a shark chomped down on his thigh, biting almost to the bone.
“I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was bad,” his mother Christina Bieber told the Palm Beach Post.
She says she wrapped a towel around the boy’s leg, where a “good chunk” was bitten, and a passerby called 911.
“He was calm, he was alert the whole time,” Christina said at a news conference Wednesday, according to local station WPTV.
In audio of the 911 call released Wednesday, the caller describes the bite as a “pretty big gash.”
“Seven or eight inches long,” he said, adding that the boy was “bleeding pretty bad.”
The boy’s parents said their son is recovering and in ‘good spirits,’ at a press conference Wednesday.
Bieber was flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he is still being treated but expected to make a full recovery.
Dr. Michael West, the trauma surgeon who saw Bieber, says the wound was about 12 inches around, covering three-quarters of his thigh and nearly hitting major vessels and nerves.
“He’s a very lucky individual,” West told the Palm Beach Post. “This was a significant shark bite when compared to the size of his leg.”
Dr. David Rankin, a plastic surgeon at the hospital, told the newspaper Bieber will regain full mobility of his leg, but will spend at least a week at the hospital.
“He’s heavily medicated but he’s doing okay and he’s in good spirits, and people who know my son, he’s tough,” Christina said.
She adds that the incident isn’t enough to keep her son off the beach and shouldn’t spook other swimmers.
“People shouldn’t be scared of the water,” she told the Palm Beach Post. “It was just: wrong place, wrong time.”
The newspaper reports that the bite happened in shallow water, and rough waters triggered by Tropical Storm Debby may have brought the shark close to shore.