This 9-year-old Girl Says She'll Return to the Water After Surviving Shark Attack
Maggie Crum is the tenth person to be bitten by a shark in Volusia County this year.
A 9-year-old girl who needed a dozen stitches after a bloody shark attack at Florida’s New Smyrna Beach says she won’t let the incident keep her out of the water.
Maggie Crum, of Ohio, was visiting the Sunshine State on vacation with her family when the group went to the popular beach on Friday, according to Today. She was playing in knee-deep water when she felt something hit her leg that morning.
“It felt like a grab at first and then it just ripped into the skin, and that’s when it hurt and felt like a bite,” she told the outlet.
Crum’s mother, Aimee Breiding, recalled hearing her daughter scream.
“She lifted her leg out of the water, and I saw blood running down her leg,” Breiding told Today. “I was like, ‘Let’s get out of the water!’ With as big of cuts as was in the back of her leg, we knew right away it was a shark.”
Breiding took Crum to the hospital, where received 12 stitches on her right leg, according to WESH.
Crum — who was with her sisters, Izzie and Jaidyn, in the water — said she noticed the sand where she stood disturbed before the shark attacked.
Despite the incident, Crum said she’ll get back in the water, WESH reported.
“I’m pretty sure if it happens once then there’s like zero percent chance it will happen again,” she said.
“Because what are the odds that you’re going to be bit twice?” she told Today.
New Smyrna Beach is known as the "shark attack capital of the world," according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File. Breiding told Today that she didn’t learn of the beach’s reputation until the family arrived.
“We didn’t tell the girls in an effort to keep them going into the water,” Breiding said. “And we talked about it, and we said there’s no sharks that shallow. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Crum is the tenth person to be bitten by a shark in Volusia County this year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Earlier this month, Emily Comfort, 20, and Riley Petrovich, 21, were bitten by sharks within 30 minutes of each other at the beach. The next day, Peter Bourbeau, 51, was attacked by a shark as he waded in the water.
On July 29, Reed Zipperer, 18, was surfing when a shark bit him, leaving three hand wounds, according to CBS News. Two days earlier, a 49-year-old man named William Angell was bitten on his right thigh while boogie boarding, WESH reported at the time.
“The only thing that’s peculiar is that people think it’s peculiar,” Gavin Naylor, program director for the Florida Program at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told PEOPLE earlier this month about the recent string of attacks at the beach.
What draws the 5 to 7-foot sharks — including blacktip, spinner sharks and juvenile sandbar varieties — so close to shore? Naylor pointed to the “way that the topography and the beaches are arranged” and how “tides play with the underlying geography.”
“On an outgoing tide, there is lots of murky water and lots of nutrients,” he said, “and the baitfish come in there.”