Cobb County boy recovering from shark bite

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:

COBB COUNTY - A 7-year-old Cobb County boy attacked by a shark during a family trip to Panama City, Florida is now recovering at home.

Ethan Hand told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri he was on his boogie board in water that was just a few inches deep.

"Kind of felt like a pinch and then I felt a lot of pain" Hand said.

His mother Emily Morrell told Viteri she heard him scream and initially assumed it was a jellyfish, but started to run when his screams worsened. She said she knew it was a shark bite when she saw the damage to his ankle.

"When we pulled him out of the water, just because of the amount of blood and the clear missing pieces of tissue, we immediately were like, 'Oh my gosh,"' Morrell said.

Morrell said the bite went nearly to the bone, but thankfully missed Ethan's arteries.

"(A) 5-inch piece of flesh around the ankle bone and three or four puncture marks on the top of his foot," Morrell said.

After operating, the plastic surgeon told the family the bite was likely from a small hammerhead or nurse shark. The scariest part for Morrell is that Ethan was playing just feet from the shore in water barely up to his knees.

"I don't want them to be scared of the water. I want them to enjoy it and I want it to be fun but I think I definitely think with a little more caution now," Morrell said.

But Ethan said this won't change his love of the ocean.

"I'm not scared," Ethan said. "I like the waves and on my boogie board I get splashed."

Ethan will have to be on crutches for two to three weeks but his mother said doctors told them he should regain full use of his foot.


Channel 2 Action News

Delivered To Your Inbox