Boy 12, punches attacking shark: ‘It was just instinct’

A boy from Georgia is recovering after getting bit by a shark in Florida.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – A 12-year-old boy is recovering in a hospital after police say he was bitten by a shark in the waters off northeast Florida.

Police say the boy, who lives in Sparks, Georgia, suffered significant injuries to his leg after the attack on Sunday afternoon at Fernandina Beach.

Josh Bitner Jr. was in waist-deep water when he felt the bite near his knee. As soon as he realized what was going on, he screamed “shark” and took matters into his own hands. The sixth grader pulled the 4-foot-long shark by his fin and began punching at it in order to stop the attack.

“I was yelling for them to help to pull me out of the water because I could only pull myself out of the foot and my hands. I was going backwards, dragging my foot. I pushed myself out of the water until people saw that I was split open and they lifted me up,” said Bitner.

Bitner was pulled out of the water by beachgoers and treated at the scene for open lacerations.

The shark attack caused significant damage to his right leg. Bitner was taken to a hospital in Jacksonville for treatment.

Information from the Associated Press and NBC News was included in this report.

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