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9-year-old girl details frightening shark attack in knee-deep water

Fourth-grader Maggie Crum became the 10th person to be bitten by a shark at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, this year and the fifth in the last month.
/ Source: TODAY

A 9-year-old girl shared her frightening encounter after becoming the latest person to show why New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has earned its reputation as the "shark bite capital of the world."

Maggie Crum spoke to NBC's Kerry Sanders for TODAY Monday about the scary moment when she became the 10th person to be bitten by a shark at New Smyrna Beach this year and the fifth in the last month.

The family was visiting Florida from Ohio when Maggie felt something strike her right leg while she was in knee-deep water on Friday morning.

"It felt like a grab at first and then it just ripped into the skin, and that's when it hurt and felt like a bite,'' she said.

Her parents had just learned about New Smyrna Beach's reputation for shark bites after they arrived.

Two people were bitten in the same weekend there earlier this month, and a dad captured drone footage of a shark right in the vicinity of his children at the same beach last month.

"We didn't tell the girls in an effort to keep them going into the water,'' Maggie's mother, Aimee Breiding, said on TODAY. "And we talked about it, and we said there's no sharks that shallow. There's nothing to worry about."

Breiding, who is a firefighter and paramedic, initially thought her daughter was faking it when she heard her scream.

"She lifted her leg out of the water, and I saw blood running down her leg,'' Breiding said. "I was like, 'Let's get out of the water!' With as big of cuts as was in the back of her leg, we knew right away it was a shark."

Though she received 12 stitches on her leg, the fourth-grader has no worries about going back into the ocean, saying her chances of getting attacked again are "a big, fat zero."

"Because what are the odds that you're going to be bit twice?" she said.

Florida had more shark attacks than any state last year and 24% of all the unprovoked attacks in the world, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.

Maggie's attack came after one on the West Coast on July 21 in which a fisherman in Sonoma County, California, was attacked in shallow water by a shark he hooked until his pit bull fought off the predator to save him.

Several beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, were also closed last week due to reports of shark sightings, and boaters there spotted a great white shark that measured about 17 feet.