Bitten by shark, US girl goes back in water to save friend

Kaley Szarmack is seen recovering in hospital in a TV news screenshot.
Kaley Szarmack is seen recovering in hospital in a TV news screenshot.WJXT

MIAMI (AFP) - A 10-year-old American girl who was bitten on the leg by a shark at a Florida beach waded back into the surf to save a younger friend, relatives said.

Kaley Szarmack is recovering in a hospital after receiving 90 stitches following the shark attack on Wednesday in shallow water off the city of Jacksonville, her father told WJXT radio.

"She got bit on the right leg. She said she felt it and she turned around and she could see the shark and she could see the fin flailing around," Dave Szarmack told the station.

The girl got out of the water and yelled to a friend to do the same, screaming about the shark.

But that younger girl stayed put.

"So she turned around and went back and got the six-year-old and took her out of the water. She pulled the little girl back out of the water," the father said.

Kaley's wound is large and took surgeons an hour to suture, but she is expected to recover fully, he added.

"She'll be able to run, jump, swim and surf in not too long of healing time. Going to have a pretty big scar and quite a story to tell, though," Dave said.