The Shark 'Wouldn't Leave'
One of the beachgoers who tried to come to the aid of the Louisiana teen attacked by a shark while on vacation in Florida this weekend says it turned into a harrowing situation for the would-be rescuers.
Rob Atkinson tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith he had just returned to shore from boogie boarding with his two young daughters when he turned back toward the surf and saw the attack on Jamie Daigle, 14, who was some 100 to 125 yards out.
"I turned to my wife and I screamed, '911,' and just went out. It was somebody's little girl out there. We were just trying to see what we could do," Atkinson says.
He made his way out on a two-foot-long Styrofoam kid's boogie board meant for wave surfing and found a frantic friend of Daigle's, along with a man on a long-board surfboard.
"I passed the other girl on the way in. She was screaming, very upset. And the fellow on the surfboard had just pulled her onto the board.
"The damage was so bad that I really think she was probably already at peace when I got there. She was definitely in shock. Pretty bad trauma."
But, says Atkinson, the shark wasn't done. "We had her across the surfboard and we put the boogie board under her head to keep her head up out of the water. And the fellow on the surfboard … said, 'The shark's back.'
"It continued to circle us and came up. All I could think to do was just freeze, 'cause I'm just hanging in the water and he's right there. You could see the shadow clearly in the water. We just wanted to get her out of there, and the shark would not -- I wouldn't say he was continuing to attack, but he wasn't leaving. It was a very aggressive shark."
Atkinson says he's gotten his daughters back into the water.
"My two daughters are 6 and 7 years old. We thought it was important to get them back down there. It can be dangerous if you get out past (a) second set of sandbars, where it gets deep. But we got them back in the water (Sunday) morning.
"Those two little girls, they were just out there floating. They weren't ridiculously far out. The fellow on the surfboard was parallel to them. So they probably felt safe out there. I think they were just floating around, talking. And you know, you don't expect something like that.
"I kind of thought it was important to let the family know that the kids weren't doing anything wrong."
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