A bull shark. File photo: Renee V/Flickr
The victim was a 42-year-old German tourist who was taking a dip at Shepard Park, Cocoa Beach on Tuesday. When a shark got hold of his foot, some quick-thinking Swedes managed to pull him to safety.
"It was scary as hell, it happened only a few metres from where I was standing," Oscar Mofjell told the local Wesh.com news site.
Mofjell, a 21-year-old Swede, was on holiday in Florida with his brother Victor and friend Henrik Nyström when the attack took place. The trio told the news station that the German had lost so much blood that he was unable to communicate, and he appeared to be losing even more blood fast.
"I said 'If you move more you'll bleed to death'," Mojfell said. "He had a big wound on his upper foot – it was just gushing with blood, I told him to stand where he was while I got a lifeguard."
The victim was rushed to hospital where his wounds have been treated. Authorities are unsure what kind of shark was behind the attack, but several Florida deaths in the past have been attributed to bull sharks.
The Swedes, who had planned several more days in the surf, were reconsidering their holiday plans after the incident.
"The man could have just as easily been bitten in the neck. We were really shaking for a few hours afterwards," Victor Mofjell told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
"Think – that could have been one of us."