ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — A 13-year-old girl in St. Lucie County has quite the story to tell after a shark took a bite out of her beach day.
She was bitten several times while in the ocean on North Hutchinson Island on Thursday afternoon.
Ella Reed is never far from the beach. She returned to Fort Pierce Inlet State Park on Friday, less than 24 hours after her encounter with what she believed to be at least a 4-foot bull shark.
The teen has stitches and bite marks to prove it.
"It went straight to me and got my stomach first, and I tried blocking it with my arm and my hand and it kind of slipped in and got my finger and my arm and it swooped around and got my leg again," Ella said. "It didn't really hurt at first because of all the adrenaline. ... We were so shocked."
Ella ran out of the water and her friend drove her home on a golf cart.
"First, initially I seriously thought it was a prank," Devin Reed, the child's mother, said.
Once her parents realized it was clearly not a joke, they took her to the St. Luice County Fire District Station just down the street from their home, and Ella was rushed to the hospital.
"[I] just went into automatic fix it, what the heck mode," Reed said.
Living in their quiet North Hutchinson Island community for more than 20 years, the teen's mother said she never was very worried about a shark bite, though they would see them often in the water.
"Never thought in a million years, not my kids," Reed said. "They swim, go surfing. They know how to stay away from bait balls and stuff like that. The whole thing is surreal. It sounds like a movie. It doesn't feel real, not yet."
The teen's mother said she was impressed with how calm, cool and collected her daughter remained through the whole experience.
"There was blood everywhere and she was more of a trooper than anyone else. We were all just shocked that it even happened. She was so calm even when we got in the hospital. She was telling all the nurses, 'You can take pictures.' She was like a pro," Reed said. "Pretty scary stuff, but thankfully she's there talking to you and once you can see she's OK then you calm down a bit."
Ella said this won't keep her out of the water, and she plans to head back into the ocean as soon as her stitches are out.