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10-year-old boy bitten by shark at Cocoa Beach identified

Child airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A 10-year-old boy is recovering from severe injuries Monday after he was bitten by an estimated six foot shark off Cocoa Beach.

Lucas Vertullo was swimming in waist deep water at Lori Wilson Park with his mother, when the shark bit his lower right leg, according to beach safety officials.

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"When my staff initially saw the wound, we knew it was a bad one," said Chief Jeff Scabarozi with Brevard Ocean Rescue. "We started discussing it after the call and it rates up there with one of the worst we have actually had here in the county for an attack."

Lucas, with his leg wrapped in bandages, was carried by a lifeguard, then placed in a waiting ambulance and taken to Cape Canaveral Hospital, but because of how severe his injuries were, he was flown to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

The 10-year-old Winter Springs boy was swimming in just a few feet of water when witnesses claim the estimated six foot bull shark bit down on his calf twice.

"It's the ocean, that's what happens," said Scabarozi. "Sharks will come close. I've seen smaller sharks in knee-deep water. They're chasing bait up on the beach and they're looking for food."

As a precaution, lifeguards flew double red flags in that portion of the beach after the bite, but everything was back to normal after about an hour.

"I don't want to say luckily that the bite happened in front of a lifeguard tower, but it did," said Scabarozi. "We were on top of it within seconds."

Lucas' family released a statement on Monday, saying:

"We are so humbled by the thoughts and prayers everyone is offering for Lucas and our family. Lucas is recovering from his injuries and is in good spirits. We are deeply thankful for the wonderful care and attention our son has received from Brevard County Ocean Rescue, Brevard County Fire Rescue, the emergency department and critical care team at Arnold Palmer Hospital, and our friends and family. We wish to maintain our privacy during this difficult time as our focus at the moment is to ensure Lucas continues to improve."

This was the fourth reported shark bite in Brevard County just this year. There have been three reported in Volusia County.

Responders treat an 11-year-old child's injuries after a shark attack in Cocoa Beach.

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