BOCA RATON, Fla. — A Boca Raton teenager was bitten by a shark while vacationing with her family in the Bahamas.
Sophia Scroggie, 19, was recently enjoying her last few days out in Lake Boca with her father, Arturo Scroggie, before heading back to college.
But the scars on her right hand are a permanent reminder of just how dangerous the ocean can be.
The teenager was bitten by a shark during a Fourth of July weekend trip to the Bahamas, minutes after Sophia and her little sister, Olivia, jumped in the water to spear a hogfish.
"I helped her grab it up and helped her bring it to the surface and, at that point, my head was out of the water," Sophia recalled. "I was holding the fish up. Just, the next thing I remember was seeing a bull shark jumping out at my face and just being thrown into kind of an adrenaline panic of, 'Oh, gosh, there (are) sharks.' ... And then I can see blood start pooling in the water and I just remember kicking and just trying to keep seeing the sharks lunge at me."
What started out as so many other family adventures in the Bahamas turned into a terrifying struggle.
"I couldn't kick it really and my dad always told us to punch the nose, so that's what I aimed for and it scared them off," Olivia said. "I remember another shark charging me again. It must have been following Sophia because of the blood."
Sophia and Olivia were able to make it back on the boat.
"I remember screaming on the boat, 'Someone help me, please. Help me get on the boat,' and I remember my older sister grabbed me by my shoulders and just lunged me into the boat," Sophia said.
Sophia's older sister, Nicole, helped by wrapping Sophia's hand in towels and attempted to stop the bleeding as they race dto the nearest Bahamian clinic an hour-and-a-half away.
"Then you start thinking, 'Oh my gosh. Is she going to be OK?'" Arturo said.
He said in his almost 40 years of spearfishing, he's never seen someone actually get bitten by a shark.
Fixing Sophia's hand was going to require two surgeries to repair the damage.
"They found that I had five tendons that were cut," Sophia said. "If I had waited a split second longer my hand could have been gone."
An X-ray of her hand showed there is a silver lining.
Doctors found a fragment of the shark's tooth in her ring finger. It's a keepsake of a weekend that will be impossible to forget.
"Got a little piece of me, but I got a little piece of him, too," Sophia said.