Woman attacked by shark to be released from hospital - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Woman attacked by shark to be released from hospital

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22-year-old Jessica Vaughn 22-year-old Jessica Vaughn
A photo of Jessica Vaughn's injury. A photo of Jessica Vaughn's injury.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A woman who was bitten in the leg by a shark while swimming off Fort Lauderdale is expected to be released from the hospital Monday.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescuers were not sure whether a shark actually bit 22-year-old Jessica Vaughn, only saying her wounds "may" have been as a result of a shark bite. Later, doctors were able to confirm it was indeed a shark when they saw the teeth marks in her calf.

Kim Alsina, Vaughn's mother said her daughter has been resilient. "She's amazing. She's a trouper. She's been tough throughout the whole thing. That's what kept, I think, all of us, stable and not freaking out. She's been great, amazing."

The victim's boyfriend said he and a group of friends were inner-tubing in the Intracoastal Waterway, near Bayshore Drive, in Fort Lauderdale. "We were tubing, and I was just in the water for about 25 minutes," said Peter Hogge. "We stopped. She had a life vest on. She went in, another friend went in with her. She got to her tube and boom."

Hogge said his girlfriend was smacked in the face by a fin, and then watched in horror as he saw what appeared to be a shark bite down on her right leg. "Out of nowhere, just bang," he said.

"I'd seen a splash go off, and she started screaming, 'What the hell, blah, blah, blah,'" said Nick Russo, who was in the water with the victim. "I saw her leg come up and her skin flap over, and I knew it wasn't good."

Witness Kyle Branston also saw his friend's leg injury. "She started saying something bit her or cut her, something," he said, "so as I'm getting closer, I see the cut mark on her leg, and I was, like, I didn't know what it was at first. I thought she got cut by a glass bottle."

Hogge said he and his friends immediately sprang into action. "We just pulled her out of the water and ... got her on the dock," he said.

Looking back at the water, Hogge said he saw what was unmistakably a shark swimming away. "It was probably about a 4-foot bull shark," he said. "I saw it. I looked back, and I saw it. I fish in the Intracoastal all the time."

Vaughn's friends rushed the 22-year-old to shore at 511 Bayshore Drive. A person on the 11th floor of a nearby apartment building heard them screaming, called 911 and helped them out before paramedics arrived.

Vaughn was rushed into surgery at Broward Health Medical Center. Branston shared pictures of her injured leg from her hospital bed.

Vaughn's friends said she is now in good spirits. Her friend Chris Moore said he feels grateful her injuries were not more serious. "Really, it's the last thing we could ever think [to have happened]," he said. "It's actually kind of funny, cause just before she jumped in, she said, ''Oh, I'm afraid of the water, I'm afraid something is going to be out there to get me.'"

Her mother said surgery went well and there was not have any nerve damage, just muscle and tendon damage. She said her daughter will be able to walk again. Doctors are now monitoring her for any sort of infection.

Loved ones said Vaughn does not have health insurance. They have set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her medical bills. If you would like to make a donation, log on to http://www.gofundme.com/9rujd0.


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