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Virginia woman among three people injured in shark attacks in Florida

Crystal Graham
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A Virginia woman was among three people injured Friday in two shark attacks at Florida beaches.

The two attacks happened at Walton County beaches about four miles apart and left two teenage girls and the Glen Allen woman injured, according to Ryan Crawford, the South Walton fire district fire chief.

Elisabeth Foley, 45, was bitten in her midsection and pelvic area around 1:15 p.m. at WaterSound Beach. Authorities say she had been swimming past the first sandbar with her family when the attack occurred. Her lower left arm was amputated by the attack. Foley was airlifted to a trauma facility for treatment.

Her church, Winn’s Baptist, set up a fundraiser to help with her recovery expenses.

The second attack took place at Seacrest Beach just before 3 p.m. on Friday, four miles east of the first attack. A group of teenage friends were in waist-deep water inside the first sandbar when the attack took place. One of the teenage girls had injuries to her upper leg and one hand. The other had minor injuries to her foot.

Waters were closed for swimming on Friday after the attacks. Beachgoers were warned Sunday to swim near a lifeguard, stay hydrated and look out for each other.

Previous shark attacks occurred in the Walton County area in 2005 and 2021. The 2005 attack killed a 14-year-old girl from Louisiana.

In 2023, Florida reported 16 shark bite incidents. There were 69 bites worldwide.

Walton County officials have reported an increase in sharks in the Gulf of Mexico this year. The time of the attacks – in the middle of the day – is rare. Officials say they generally warn people to beware of sharks in the early morning or at dusk, which is the typical feeding times for sharks.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

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