911 call: Shark bites 6-year-old boy's thigh

JUPITER, Fla. --  The parents of 6-year-old Nickolaus Bieber say he's doing well after being bitten by a shark just north of the Juno Beach Pier on Tuesday night.

The bite happened around 7 p.m. just north of the Juno Beach Pier near the Marcinski Park area, Jupiter Police Department spokesperson Scott Pascarella said.

Nickolaus was transported via Trauma Hawk to St. Mary's Medical Center and doctors say when he arrived he was alert.

His parents, Christina and Matthew Bieber, spoke in a news conference Wednesday.

"He told me he saw a shark thrashing in the water," Christina said. "He was calm, he was alert the whole time. He's alert now. He's heavily medicated but he's doing ok and he's in good spirits and people who know my son, he's tough."

On a 911 call released Wednesday, the caller described the wound as "a pretty big bite."

The caller thought the bite may be 7 to 8 inches long when he spoke to dispatchers.

Dr. Michael West was the trauma surgeon who first saw Nickolaus.  He said it was a classic hit and run by the shark and can't confirm what type of shark it was that bit him, but say it was a shark.

Nickolaus is positive it was a bull shark that bit him because he saw it in the water coming at him, his parents said at the news conference.

Dr. West said the boy had a pretty deep wound on the back of his leg and the bite came very close to major vessels and nerves.

The bite, which Dr. West said is about 12 inches around, covered about three quarters of the little boy's right thigh and was very close to the bone.

They say the boy is lucky it didn't turn out worse.

The Bieber's said both of their children were with them at the beach and they go swimming often and this isn't a reason for parents or kids to be afraid of the water.

"It was a freak accident," Christina said.

The Bieber's say the boy was swimming in pretty shallow water when it happened and they were very scared.

They first thought it was a man-o-war jellyfish that got to him, but quickly noticed it was much worse.

Several witnesses were on scene and tried to help, which the Bieber's said was very helpful and they pledged their appreciation to those helpful people at the news conference.

Plastic surgeon Dr. David Rankin said the boy will be able to walk again after some work is done. He expects it to be a week at best and no more than a month or two before Nickolaus will be up and walking again.


Audio link for mobile: http://media2.wptv.com/uploads/sharkbite.mp3

Hospital officials believe the bite came from a bull shark.

Lieber said a "good chunk" of the boy's thigh was bitten. The 911 caller described the wound as "a pretty big gash...7 or 8 inches long."

Several witnesses were on scene and tried to help. The child was transported via Trauma Hawk to St. Mary's Medical Center where he remains as of Wednesday morning.

A witness said the child's family and bystanders brought him to a nearby bench near the road after the attack to apply pressure to the wound while they waited for first responders.

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