A teenager is recovering at a hospital after he suffered a bite while searching for lobster in the waters off Key Largo this past weekend.
The incident occurred just after 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 7 when a 15-year-old male was lobstering outside Ocean Reef Club. According to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation, the boy was swimming in murky waters when he suddenly felt a sharp pain.
He subsequently swam back to a personal boat and was brought to shore. The teenager was treated by Ocean Reef public safety crews for injuries to his lower extremities. He was airlifted to Jackson South Medical Center in Kendall.
It’s unknown what bit the teen.
“I’m sure by now they have some experts up at the hospital looking into that,” said Florida Fish & Wildlife Officer Bobby Dube. “By time our officer was on scene, he was already bandaged and getting ready to get airlifted.”
Attacks in the water such as the one on Aug. 7 are rare in the Keys. The last known incident occurred in September 2020, when a 30-year-old Atlanta man was bit in the shoulder by a shark at Sombrero Key Light off Marathon. The man’s pregnant wife watched it all unfold and jumped into the water to pull him back to the boat. Witnesses reported seeing an 8- to 10-foot bull shark in the area.
Dube said the FWC doesn’t investigate shark bites.
“We do alligator investigations if somebody gets bit, but we don’t do anything with shark bites,” he said.
The attack in Key Largo last weekend is the third major incident reported in the Keys since the two-day lobster mini season, which went from July 29 and 30, and the beginning of the regular spiny lobster season on Aug. 6. A Sewall’s Point man died after losing consciousness while snorkeling for lobster near Sawyer Key on July 28. That same day, a 41-year-man from Naples was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital after a boat propeller struck his leg near Cudjoe Key.