A teenage softball player has admitted she is "beyond lucky to be alive" after a shocking shark attack off the coast of Florida.
High school student Caitlyn Taylor needed between 120 and 140 stitches after the incident, her mom revealed, and suffered painful injuries to her legs from the creature's bites.
Incredibly, the 17-year-old managed to free herself after the shark grabbed her by punching it in the nose, Tracey Taylor said.
She told WHAS 11,
Caitlyn says she turned around and the head of it was coming towards her with a wave and she said she turned to swim back to shore and she says she felt it just grab her and lift her off of the bottom.
Caitlyn reacted to the attack on Twitter, posting pictures of her injured legs and writing,
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.
Caitlyn, from Louisville, Kentucky, was attacked at a beach resort in Destin, Florida with the Atherton High School softball team.
She was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with her teammates when the five-foot-long beast swam past her friends, brushing against her sister, before grabbing her with its jaws.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said the team was swimming in waist-deep water, and initially believed the shark was a dolphin when it floated toward them in the wave.
The sheriff's office described her injuries as "minor," but this was disputed by her mom, who said,
There's nothing minor about having to have 120 to 140 stitches. She has cuts on her hand and upper and lower jaw marks on both legs.
Mrs. Taylor added her daughter was in good spirits and has received messages of support from family, friends and people she hadn't heard from in years.