LOUISVILLE --- A Louisville teenager’s spring break got real — as in real horrifying after she was attacked by a shark on Sunday in Destin, Florida.
Caitlyn Taylor, 17, was in Destin with her high school softball team for a tournament when she was bitten on her leg in the Gulf of Mexico, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to the Courier-Journal. While she was being bitten, the quick-thinking teen punched the five-foot-long shark back, according to authorities.
The Atherton High School teen was swimming in an area behind a condominium. According to a post on Okaloosa’s official Facebook page, the shark chomped down on Taylor while she was in waist-deep water around 3:39 p.m.
Michele Nicholson, an Okaloosa County Sheriff spokesperson, said the shark took her by the legs, tugged on her, and immediately turned her loose.
“She was hitting it with her hand and then it released" its bite, Nicholson said.
Wow. You go, girl!
The brave teen was taken by ambulance to the Destin Emergency Room, where she received 80 stitches. Luckily, no muscles or tendons were affected, Nicholson said.
The Courier-Journal attempted to contact Caitlyn and her family but they did not immediately respond.
On Sunday night, about six hours after the attack, Caitlyn posted an update on Twitter, along with a picture of the aftermath: "Beyond lucky to be alive and well and thank you to everyone for the support and wishes and I'm going to be okay, love you guys."
Beyond lucky to be alive and well and thank you to everyone for the support and wishes and I'm going to be okay, love you guys❤❤❤ pic.twitter.com/wm6wVryVzw— Caitlyn Taylor (@cbt212) April 3, 2017
Her sister, Paige Taylor, added to her sentiment, saying on Twitter: "it was such a traumatizing event out there and I'm so lucky to still have my sister who is so strong and a such a fighter."
it was such a traumatizing event out there and i'm so lucky to still have my sister who is so strong and a such a fighter 💗 https://t.co/2Jlac8ZP56— paige taylor (@pdt802) April 3, 2017
Taylor’s friends rallied around her — praising her on social media for her brave smackdown.
@cbt212 glad that you are okay, but this is officially the most badass story anyone could ever have in their life— ryan boyle (@ryanboyle8208) April 3, 2017
Although the water in the area is pretty clear, Nicholson explained officials are not sure what type of shark attacked the teen but that she was in the company of family and friends at the time of the incident.
The Northwest Florida Daily news reported that Sunday’s incident is “only the fourth documented attack off Okaloosa County beaches since 1882.”
Moral of the story? Stay safe. Stay away from sharks ... and don't mess with female softball players.