Shark Bite Victim Calls Ordeal “Surreal”

With her right leg wrapped up, 22-year-old Jessica Vaughn talked to the media Monday a little more than 24 hours after she was bit by a shark while tubing with a friend in Ford Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway.

Vaughn said she was in the water when she felt something hit her leg and realized that her "leg is cut open."

"It felt like somebody punched my leg. At first I wasn't sure, but then once I saw my leg, I was like, that's not just a fish" she said. "So then I realized it was a shark...and they saw it from the boat."

Vaughn said the shark’s fin actually hit her in the face after she was bit. She said she was nervous when she decided to go tubing with her friends Sunday afternoon.

"I don't like not being able to see the bottom," Vaughn said. "I don't know what's under there. Just go in there to go tubing, once I get to the tube, I'll be fine. On my way out there, it obviously happened. I was like, 'this really just happened to me.'"

After the attack, Vaughn said her friend told her to get back on the boat. Once she was on board, she saw what appeared to be a large bite mark on her leg. Her friends said they could see teeth marks and the leg was cut up from the bite.

The boaters quickly headed for shore, where they began yelling for help. First responders were on the scene in just minutes and when they looked at Jessica’s leg, her friends had taken care of some of the medical work for them.

"I have to commend the crew of the boat for two things: One, they had a first-aid kit, and two, they used it. When we go there, she was very well bandaged," said Timothy Heiser of Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue.

Vaughn was taken to Broward General Hospital for treatment. Vaughn's surgeon said it was the biggest shark bite he had treated. He said the shark just missed several key arteries and veins.

"It looks like he grabbed it and just pulled away," said Dr. Zoran Potparic. "So he pulled those tissues on the inner side of the thigh, leaving the big flap of tissue that was hanging and that was really the major wound."

Doctors said Vaughn is expected to make a full recovery from the bite.

"It's still surreal," Vaughn said. "I think about it and I can't believe it happened - especially to me."

Vaughn reportedly doesn't have insurance, but thanks to social media, her friends set up an account to help pay for expense here.

GRAPHIC PHOTO WARNING: Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue released the following photo of the injury on their Twitter feed:

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