News, News Feed, Trauma

Shark Takes ‘Big Chunk’ Out of Body Surfer’s Leg Off FL Beach

The photo shows the front grill of an ambulance.
File photo

Don Sweeney

The Sacramento Bee


A 31-year-old California man says he felt like “a large log” had bumped against his leg as he stood in shallow water while body surfing Wednesday off a Florida beach.

“I wasn’t sure exactly what happened, I was a little confused,” said Mark Bowden of Santa Rosa, The Press Democrat reported. Then he looked down at his leg.

“I … saw how there was a big chunk taken out of it and I don’t know, luckily it didn’t hurt at all,” Bowden said, KGO reported.


He began swimming “pretty frantically” for the beach, The Press Democrat reported.

“That was probably the scariest and most traumatic part of it for me was trying to get out of the water,” Bowden said, according to the publication. “It wasn’t that deep but I just didn’t know what happened.”

Bowden had been bitten by a blacktip shark, leaving an 8-inch laceration, The Miami Herald reported. He ran to a lifeguard station where he received first aid.

Bowden, who had surgery and spent a night in the hospital, had been looking forward to body surfing among schools of fish off Miami’s famed South Beach during his trip, KGO reported.

But he didn’t realize the red flags flying on the beach signaled shark danger, KNTV reported.

“I was never warned that it wasn’t a good time to go in the water, that it was feeding season,” Bowden said, according to the station. “I’m just a tourist from California. Later, in the ambulance I heard my paramedic say, ‘Oh yeah, I won’t go out in the water when there’s a lot of fish.’”

Nevertheless, Bowden says his shark encounter won’t keep him out of the ocean.

“I think at some point I’ll go back in, plus, I’m thinking, what are the chances of having two shark attacks? That’s gotta be zero,” Bowden said, KGO reported.


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