A 10-year-old boy had to have one of his legs amputated below the knee after being bitten by a shark last week while snorkeling on vacation with his family in the Florida Keys, state officials and a family member said.
Jameson Reeder Jr. of North Carolina was attacked by a shark at about 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 while snorkeling with his family at Looe Key Reef, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
It was believed to be an 8-foot bull shark that delivered a "crushing blow" below the knee on the boy's leg, according to a Facebook post by Joshua Reeder, who said he is Jameson's uncle. It's not clear which leg was bitten.
His uncle wrote that the boy was able to stay afloat and then was pulled aboard a boat, where a tourniquet was applied to his leg. He was then taken to shore and airlifted to a children's hospital in Miami, according to his uncle.
Doctors had to amputate his leg below the knee "to save his life as it was not operable from the damage the shark had caused," his uncle wrote.
"They said the shark made the decision for him and wasn't anything they could do to save it," he continued.
The incident marked the fourth shark attack off the coast of Florida's Monroe County since April, according to the Miami Herald.
Joshua Reeder shared an update on Jameson's condition on Instagram Wednesday after flying from Hawaii to Florida to be with his brother and his family.
"The more we talk together and learn about the facts of how everything unfolded, the more and more evident it appears that it is a pure miracle he is still alive and with us today," Reeder wrote.
He wrote that Jameson will be undergoing another surgery on Wednesday "as the doctors clean up around his knee and make sure that there is no infection and that muscle and bone are good to go for next steps."
Reeder also marveled at how Jameson has handled the traumatic event.
"I cannot say enough amazing things about Jameson Jr. and his attitude through the whole thing," he wrote. "His outlook on this massive life change seems very positive so far."
Reeder added that his nephew is already setting physical therapy goals so he can go home from the hospital.
"While you can see the shock and emotions processing in his eyes, you can still see this bright light of positivity shining through," Reeder wrote. "It really is incredible and inspiring."