When Tyler McConnell and his family came to Pensacola, Florida to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico, they never expected to spend the bulk of their time at Baptist Health Care. McConnell, his mother, and his sister were riding their rented Jet Skis approximately 250 meters off shore when Tyler was thrown to the water. His mother looked up and panicked when she saw her son in a pool of blood.
Most would expect an animal to come back and finish what it started, but Tyler was able to climb back onto his ski and follow his family members back to the shoreline where rescue teams and worried observers were standing by. Initially, officials called it a barracuda bite, but upon further examination, doctors confirmed that he had been attacked by a shark. Upon discharge from the hospital just a few days later, only his ankle and foot were bandaged while he rode out of the building in a wheelchair.
Tyler says that he doesn’t remember much of how it happened because the event took place so quickly, but officials near the Gulf State Park Pier have been noting an ‘abundance’ of spinner sharks swimming freely in the waters just a few hundred feet from the location of swimmers and area onlookers. Mike Guinn, superintendent of the park, claims to see sharks quite often, citing that ‘they’re not so bad that I would have a problem with it.’ But stories that come from young men like Tyler McConnell are enough to give most thrill seekers a little bit of pause before jet cruising out into the territory of a dangerous species.
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