Swimmers allowed back in surf after shark attack closed beach
A Louisiana girl was killed by a shark Saturday.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Beaches reopened Sunday with extra lifeguards along a stretch of the Florida Panhandle coast where a shark killed a 14-year-old girl, as coastal residents reported seeing at least one shark hunting fish close to shore.
Jamie Marie Daigle of Gonzales, La., was swimming on a boogie board with a friend at least 100 yards from shore when she was attacked Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico, said Walton County sheriff's Capt. Danny Glidewell. Jamie was vacationing with friends while the rest of her family was home.
The girl was in an area not protected by sandbars or lifeguards when she was bitten, said the surfer who hauled her onto his board and headed for shore with the shark trailing them.
"The beach is the beach. Once you get past that second sandbar, you're in the gulf," said Tim Dicus, who pulled the unconscious girl onto his surfboard. "And when you're in the gulf, that's where big fish are. You go way down on the food chain."
An autopsy was planned for today, and a shark expert was invited to attend to help determine the type of shark involved, Glidewell said Sunday.
After the attack Saturday, a 20-mile stretch of shore was closed to swimmers, with twin red flags warning people to stay out of the water, but beaches reopened Sunday with a double staff of sheriff's beach patrol officers, Glidewell said.
Residents of a condominium complex next to the beach where the girl was attacked said they spotted a shark that looked about 6 feet long Sunday morning.
"It was just right at the shoreline," said Jason Miller, who lives in a 10th-floor condo. He took pictures of the shark chasing fish while people stood in the white surf.
Although Jamie and her friend were farther from shore than recommended, it is common for boogie-boarders and surfers to go beyond the two sandbars that separate the shallow beach area from the open gulf, Glidewell said.
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