A 12-year-old girl was wounded in a suspected shark attack in knee-deep water in Maryland, leaving her with 20 teeth wounds and dozens of stitches.
Jordan Prushinski, of Plains Township in Pennsylvania, was vacationing with her family Monday in Ocean City and felt something “hit against her shins” while in shallow water at the 119th Street beach in the popular resort town, WBRE reported.
“I didn’t really realize what was going on until I was on the beach and I was bleeding everywhere,” Prushinski told the station.
The soon-to-be seventh-grader said she saw “cuts all over” her left leg following the suspected shark bite. Jordan’s mother, who was there along with her father, cousins and younger sister, ran and got help from an EMT and a nurse nearby to stop her bleeding.
“By the time I got there, I scooped her up and got her onto a quad and got her out of there,” Jordan’s dad, Robert Prushinski, told the station.
The bloodied girl was rushed to a hospital in Berlin, where she needed 42 stitches to close the 20 small cuts on her leg.
Lifeguards who came to Jordan’s aid told her it likely wasn’t a shark that bit her, a claim that her mother denied, the Scranton Times Tribune reported.
“The ER doctor told me this was a shark bite,” Melissa Prushinski told the newspaper. “Nothing else would make this wound.”
Ocean City officials told local outlets they were investigating whether the bite was from another marine animal, but Prushisnki’s mom got answers directly from the founder of the New Jersey-based Shark Research Institute.
“It was definitely a shark,” Marie Levine told the Times Tribune, adding that she suspected a blacktip, which can reach lengths of more than eight feet and “often encounters” people in coastal waters, according to National Geographic.
“What happened to Jordan was a mistake,” Levine continued. “I’m sure it was mistaken identity.”
Jordan, for her part, said she immediately thought a horseshoe crab was to blame. She and her family stayed in Ocean City despite the freak encounter, although she couldn’t go back into the water due to her stitches. But that won’t last forever, she said.
“I plan to go back in the water,” she said. “Something like this is rare, but it’s even more rare for it to happen again.”