13-year-old girl survives bull shark attack, family says

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. (WPTV) – A South Florida girl was bitten by a shark while wading in the ocean with a friend.

Despite her injuries, 13-year-old Ella Reed said she plans on going right back in the water as soon as her stitches are out.

Ella returned to her favorite place less than 24 hours after the shark attack that took place there.

“It was like right there, right in the white water,” she said. “And the main part where I got stitches, like, if it bit down harder, that would have been really, really bad.”

Ella reflected on the moment when what she believed was an at least 4-foot-long bull shark came after her.

“We didn’t really expect it but we kind of thought eventually it was going to happen,” she said.

Ella and her friend were sitting in waist-deep water at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park Thursday afternoon when a shark interrupted their beach day.

“It went under her and 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,” she said. “It didn’t really hurt in the first part ‘cause of all the adrenaline … we were so shocked, we didn’t even know.”

The brave girl then ran out of the water and headed home to her mother, Devin Reed.

“First, initially I seriously thought it was a prank,” Reed said.

When her parents realized it was not a prank, they took her to the St. Lucie County fire station just down the road, where she was rushed to the hospital.

Reed said the family has lived in the North Hutchinson Island Community for more than 20 years and never worried about a shark bite.

“The whole thing is surreal, it doesn’t.. it sounds like a movie, it doesn’t feel real,” Reed said.

Ella’s mother said it was a learning experience.

“Pretty scary stuff but thankfully she’s there talking to you, and once you can see, ‘Ok, she’s alright,’ then you kind of calm down a bit,” Reed said.

Ella said the experience taught her to respect the ocean and all the creatures that call it home.

“Yeah, I’m gonna keep on coming back, after the stitches come out,” she said.