An 11-year-old boy from Canada became the latest victim in a series of frightening shark attacks this summer after he was bitten on the foot while swimming in South Florida.
Christian Mariani said he was wading up to his hips at a Fort Lauderdale beach at around 9 a.m. Wednesday when he felt something clamp down on his foot.
"It was pretty painful, like, really painful,'' he told reporters at Broward Health Medical Center.
Lifeguards who were training nearby heard Mariani screaming and responded, Fort Lauderdale Battalion Chief Steven Gollan told NBC Miami. Officials believed the boy was bitten by a small shark.
Mariani was taken to the hospital where doctors treated him for puncture wounds and put 17 stitches in his foot. It was still a frightening day he said he won't soon forget.
"The fear of not knowing what bit you and what's going to happen to your foot after that is the scariest feeling that I think I've ever experienced,'' he said.
The Ontario, Canada, native said he plans to go back into the water as soon as he heals up.
The attack on the seventh-grader came just days after Ohio girl Maggie Crum, 9, became the 10th person to be bitten this year at New Smyrna Beach, just up the Florida coast.
Crum needed 12 stitches after being bitten on the right leg. The beach has been dubbed "the shark bite capital of the world."
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.
The Fort Lauderdale attack also came a day after a 27-year-old woman was bitten on the lower back and hip while swimming in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island in Hawaii.
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.