RANDOLPH - A teen on vacation with his family in Florida became the victim of a shark attack while fishing off Sanibel Island.
Christian Mercurio, 17, says family and friends saved his life after a bull shark bit both his legs as he was standing in waist-deep water.
"All of a sudden, I felt something on my leg. I didn't feel any pain, just pressure. And the pressure felt like cinder blocks were falling on my legs," Christian says. "I starting running in toward shore and shouting, 'shark'."
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At first his parents sitting on the beach thought he was joking, but knew something was wrong when he started to struggle to get out of the water. His father was able to pull him out.
Christian's mom, Lisa Mercurio, is also a nurse, and quickly elevated his legs and began wrapping them in towels.
"I immediately looked down and saw he had multiple puncture wounds," Lisa Mercurio says. "They were bleeding profusely."
Doctors told Christian he was likely bit by a bull shark about 6 to 8 feet long. One bite went completely through his left foot.
Christian says he has a lot of recovery ahead of him before he'll be able to walk again, but he is glad he survived the attack. "I just feel really lucky that I didn't die," he says.
According to National Geographic, bull sharks are usually found in shallow, warm water. Experts say they will eat just about anything, but normally only attack humans inadvertently or out of curiosity.