A 35-year-old Texas woman who was attacked by a shark a week ago while with family in the Lower Keys is recovering from a major injury to her leg, Florida’s wildlife police said Tuesday.
“The surgeries went well and she’s started physical therapy,” Jason Rafter, a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said in a text message.
The update is unlike the terrifying moments described in the FWC report of a shark biting the woman at Summerland Key on June 29 — a rare occurrence in Florida, particularly in the Keys.
FWC released the report Tuesday, nearly a week after the shark bite, and after the incident was not announced at all. On Friday, Rafter confirmed that a woman had been bitten by a shark, but gave no details and said the full report would be available after July 4.
Lindsay Rebecca Bruns, of Flower Mound, Texas, was on a pontoon boat with her husband and their two daughters, east of Sawyer Key on the Gulf side.
At about 8 p.m. on June 29 — 20 minutes before sunset that day, according to the National Weather Service — they stopped to jump into the clear, calm water that was about 10 feet (3 meters) deep.
The mother jumped from the top platform of the boat into the water several times.
Then she did a somersault. That’s when her husband Luke Bruns, 42, heard a huge splash — too big for his wife to make, he told state conservationists.
He turned and saw more splashes and water pouring over the barrel.
Then he saw nothing but blood in the water.
His wife got out of the water and yelled, “Help!” That’s when Luke Bruns dove in and helped her to the boat’s ladder and onto the pontoon.
“He saw the large wound on her right leg, which corresponds to a shark attack,” the state agency’s report said.
As the blood spurted from his wife’s leg, he used a rope as a makeshift tourniquet to try to stop the bleeding. He called 911 and was told to send her to Tonio’s Seafood Shack on Summerland Key†
Cops help the family
Lindsay Bruns was left with a semicircular wound on her right leg, the report said.
“It stretched from the top of her hip to just above her knee,” wrote FWC officer Christopher Boley, who met the pontoon when it arrived and showed Luke Bruns where to park it.
“It appeared to be from a jagged impact, and there were punctures on her thigh, equivalent to a shark attack.” wrote Boley.
Boley took out his FWC-issued tourniquet and fitted it to Lindsay Bruns’ leg until the ambulance arrived. He and other FWC agents helped put her on a board and into the ambulance.
She was taken to Jackson South Medical Center in Miami-Dade by Monroe County Trauma Star helicopter ambulance. During the flight, she received a blood transfusion, according to Kristen Livengood, a Monroe County spokeswoman.
Lindsay Bruns was in stable condition when she arrived at the Miami-Dade hospital.
Most shark bites occur in the United States, and the state where most of them occur is Florida, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, which tracks annual shark bites worldwide.
FWC has not confirmed what type of shark bit Bruns.
Usually it is smaller shark species that mistake human limbs for prey, but rarely leave life-threatening injuries. Florida had 28 shark bites last year, none fatal. Volusia County topped the list with 17 shark bites, followed by Brevard, Miami-Dade and St. Lucie counties — all with two bites each, according to the ISAF.
The Keys shark bite report also shows that FWC officers did everything they could for the family that night.
Boley and other officers flushed the blood from the pontoon while Luke Bruns looked after his daughters.
An officer later drove the pontoon back to the 1000 block of Ocean Drive on Summerland where the Bruns family was staying at the time.