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Florida beach vacation hotspot closed after back-to-back shark attacks

via GMA
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Two successive shark attacks occurred within hours of each other off the coast of Walton County, Florida.

A 45-year-old woman and two teenagers in their mid-to-late teens were injured in the attacks.

The woman suffered extensive damage to her lower body and arm amputation.

“We experienced two separate incidents earlier this afternoon in relative proximity to one another, about four miles apart and within an hour and a half from one another,” South Walton Fire District Fire Chief Ryan Crawford said.

The woman received “significant trauma to the midsection and pelvic area and amputation of her left lower arm,” Crawford said.

Law enforcement did not specify what type of sharks were part of the attacks.

One teen’s injuries required tourniquets on the lower and upper extremities, while the other received flash wounds to the foot.

Both teens were airlifted to trauma hospitals in critical condition.

“Victim one received significant injuries to one lower and one upper extremity,” Crawford said. “Both [bites] required the application of tourniquets.”

The coordinated response from first responders was praised for providing victims with lifesaving care quickly.

“One of the important things to realize in these types of situations is the continuity of care,” Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson stated. “This seamless operation between the folks at South Walton Fire District and the deputies at Walton County Sheriffs Office and Walton Air Rescue.”

“I think these two ladies have a fighting chance because of that professionalism,” he added.

In response, several miles of Gulf waters were closed off with double red flags posted.

Officials acknowledged the area is habitat for sharks but were consulting experts on the anomaly of successive attacks.

“Double red flags are now flying on the beaches in the surrounding area,” the Walton County Sheriff’s Office wrote. “The Gulf is now closed to the public in Walton County in the localized area of the incident.”

“We know that we share the waters with sharks,” Adkinson said. “We understand that, as tragic as this is, there are always sharks in these waters, and we have to be careful and cognizant of that.”

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