10-year-old Florida girl bitten by shark while celebrating her birthday

Posted at 8:41 AM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 08:42:55-04

MACCLENNY, Fla. — (WJXT/CNN) - A Florida girl was bitten by a shark late Friday afternoon in the waters off Crescent Beach in St. Johns County, where she was celebrating her birthday.

Peyton Shields turned 10 last week and for her birthday, she and her family left their Baker County home to spend the weekend at the Four Winds condominiums on A1A. They had only been at the beach for about an hour at the time of the shark attack.

"My daughter got bitten by a shark. It's, like, I don't know anybody who has been bitten by a shark," Steve Shields, Peyton's father, told News4Jax on Monday. "Lucky Peyton."

Peyton was boogie boarding in waist-deep water about 5:45 p.m. Friday when she was bitten on both her legs by a shark. She said she tried to push it away and she was bitten on her left hand before the shark swam off.

Her parents saw her screaming and struggling in the water. Her father said he thought she was yelling because she had thought had been stung by a jellyfish, but then he saw the blood.

"I saw she had blood coming out of her hand and then I started going into, 'What’s going on?'" her father recounted. "Then when she got out, I saw there was a lot more blood coming from the lower half."

Peyton's parents put pressure on the wounds and called 911. Other children were in the water with Peyton, but she was the only one bitten, according to a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office report.

The child was taken to Flagler Hospital where she needed 40 stitches to close here wounds. Steve Shields said his daughter was brave and didn't even cry.

Peyton was released from the hospital just in time to celebrate at her birthday party, which was coincidentally ocean-themed, held Saturday, her father said.

Though Peyton, who is on spring break this week, was bummed she was unable to get in the water again over the weekend after the shark attack, she said that as soon as she's cleared by a doctor, she's looking forward to another family beach trip this summer and can't wait to get back in the ocean.

Courtesy of WJXT via CNN Newsource