3 People Injured in 2 Different Shark Attacks at Neighboring Beaches in Florida: ‘This Is an Anomaly’

A 45-year-old woman and two teenaged girls were attacked less than five miles apart within two hours

<p>South Walton Fire District/Facebook</p> Florida

South Walton Fire District/Facebook

Florida's Dune Allen Beach; a stock image of bull shark

Three people were injured in two shark attacks on two Florida beaches — and now local officials are warning residents to be cautious.

A 45-year-old woman was swimming near the first sandbar at Watersound Beach on Friday, June 7, at around 1:20 p.m. when a shark bit her around her midsection, pelvis and left arm, according to a Walton County Sheriff's Office press conference and reports from ABC News and WBRC.

She was airlifted to HCA Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Part in critical condition, and part of her left arm was amputated, South Walton Fire District Chief Ryan Crawford said.

The same day, just before 3 p.m., two teenaged girls were swimming about four miles away near the first sandbar at Seacrest Beach when they were injured by a shark, Crawford added. The girls, who were 15 and 17 years old, were transported to separate area hospitals.

One victim received "significant injuries to one upper and one lower extremity, both requiring the application of tourniquets," Crawford said, while the other victim received "flesh wounds" to her right foot.

<p>South Walton Fire District/Facebook</p> A beach in Florida's Walton County

South Walton Fire District/Facebook

A beach in Florida's Walton County

Related: Shark Attacks New Zealand Woman Walking in Knee-Deep Water: 'Recovery Will Be Slow'

"This is an anomaly ... everything from it being three victims, to where it's at," said Walton County Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson Jr., per ABC News. "We know that we share the water with sharks. As tragic as this is, we know that there are always sharks in the water."

The sheriff added that the county's most recent shark attack was in 2021 and the last shark-related fatality took place in 2005.

Adkinson Jr. added that officials ordered all beaches in the area closed after the first shark attack, but the orders were not in place at all beaches at the time of the second attack.

Beachgoers are now being instructed to take extreme caution following the two incidents.

The South Walton Fire District (SWFD) also warned its residents to take precaution when visiting the northwestern county's beaches, writing in a Facebook post that there were "moderate surf hazards and the presence of dangerous marine life on Sunday, June 9."

"We encourage all of our beach patrons to be situationally aware in the water today, swim near a lifeguard, stay hydrated, and look out for each other," fire officials wrote in the post. "Please do not underestimate the open water and any of the marine life that could be present."

<p>South Walton Fire District/Facebook</p> Dune Allen Beach in Florida

South Walton Fire District/Facebook

Dune Allen Beach in Florida

Related: How to Prevent a Shark Attack and What to Do If Bitten? An American Lifeguard Association Expert Weighs In

CNN reported that SWFD beach safety director David Vaughn said that although officials do not know if the same shark is behind both attacks — or what species the shark was — it's possible the same shark was involved in both attacks.

"It would make more sense that with the nature and severity of the injuries, that it was the same large shark," Vaughn told the outlet.

WBRC also reported that the Panama City Beach Police Department and the nearby Bay County Sheriff's Office conducted an aerial search and reported large numbers of sharks in the area, including bull sharks close to sandbars.

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According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a number of shark species live in Florida's waters, including blacktip sharks, bull sharks, nurse sharks and tiger sharks — but attacks are still "extremely unlikely."

The FWC recommends that beachgoers follow a number of safety practices to stop shark attacks, including avoiding jewelry while in the ocean, not allowing pets in the water, staying in groups and using caution in murky waters, fishing areas or waters containing sewage.

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