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Boy, 9, bitten by shark minutes into Florida vacation, parents say

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 11:14 PM CDT
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WPLG) - A 9-year-old boy is recovering at the hospital after he was bitten by what his parents believe was a shark while swimming on vacation off the Florida coast.

The parents of 9-year-old Jay Weiskopf think the Miami Beach, Florida, site where their son was allegedly bitten by a shark should be closed. The family, visiting from Minnesota, says they were only in the water for a few minutes when Jay was attacked.

“I was holding his hand the whole time, and he was kind of body surfing a little bit… He had fallen on his stomach, and when I pulled him up, I noticed that there was just a big chunk of skin missing from his shoulder,” said the boy’s mother, Kristine Weiskopf. “He just said, ‘Ow,’ and then, I looked down and there was about a 4-foot gray shark, just kinda swimming away. So, I just scooped him up and ran him up the beach.”

Miami Beach Fire Rescue met the family on the sand, and Jay was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was rushed into surgery to close the large wound.

“He just, right now, wants to go home, and that’s really sad because we had so much fun planned,” Kristine Weiskopf said.

Doctors say the injuries could have long term effects on Jay’s mobility, but the Weiskopfs have been told that because he is young, his prognosis is good.

“I just love him so much. He’s such a great, great kid, and we’re still in shock. We’re just thankful. We just thank God that he didn’t take his life, that he’s gonna be OK,” said the boy’s father, Ren Weiskopf.

The Weiskopfs say they’re not only concerned for their son but also for others out on the water.

“What I don’t like right now is that the beach is still open, and kids are still down there playing. They’re in the same spot where my son just got attacked. I don’t know if it’s because of spring break or whatever, but the beach should be closed,” Ren Weiskopf said.

Despite the family’s report, officials have not determined what attacked Jay, calling it an “unidentified fish.”

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