By Ted Scouten

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — An 11-year-old Canadian boy, on vacation with his family, was apparently bitten by a shark Wednesday morning off the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

Christian Mariani is sporting 17 stitches and has quite the story to tell his friends back home in Canada about his summer vacation in Fort Lauderdale.

It appears a shark chomped down on his foot.

“I was about knee-high and the shark came and bit my right foot here,” he said pointing to his bandaged foot.

It happened about 8:45 in the morning when he, his brother and dad were in the water.

Christian said initially he wasn’t quite sure what was happening.

“I just thought like to get out because I knew something was there, something bit me. I don’t know what it was, so I just ran out, that was it,” he said.

Very few people were on the beach at the time, but it just so happened a group of lifeguards were nearby, getting ready for work.

“Our life guards were on the beach doing their morning pt, physical training when they heard a horrific scream off in the distance, they ran down the beach to find find a 12 yea role male who was in the water bleeding from his right foot,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan.

Ocean Rescue sprang into action. Between them and paramedics Christian was treated quickly on the scene and rushed to the hospital. “He is doing great,” said Broward Health Pediatric Emergency Medical Director Dr. Francis Amador.

“Thank God it was something that wasn’t that serious,” he said.

Dr. Amador said it appears there’s no major damage. just some cuts. “It was like a flesh wound, so to speak. I guess the shark wasn’t that hungry after all, looking for a snack,” he said.

Christian said he does plan to go back in the water again after he’s healed. For now, he’s feeling pretty grateful it wasn’t worse.

“I feel more lucky than unlucky,” he said. “I know there’s a very low chance of getting bit by a shark but to be in the condition I am right now, that is also very lucky.”

Shark bites are more common in the summer when more people are in the water and ocean currents bring baitfish closer to shore.

Ted Scouten

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