Saturday 2 July 2022 04:09 AM PICTURED: Teenage girl, 17, who lost her leg after being attacked by a shark trends now
This is the 17 year-old girl who lost a leg after being bitten by a shark off a Florida beach - only to be saved when her EMT brother beat the creature off her thigh.
Addison Bethea's harrowing ordeal began around 3 pm Thursday when the teen and her half-brother, Rhett Willingham, 22, went out scalloping in just five feet of water near Grassy Island, off Keaton Beach in Taylor County.
'Rhett was just like tapping me and the something latches onto my leg. And I was like, “That’s not Rhett”. I look and there’s this big old shark,' Addison told WTXL.
'I remembered from watching animal planet you’re supposed to punch them in the nose or something - but I couldn’t get around to his nose the way he bit me,' she explained.
Her father, Shane Addison, 46, told DailyMail.com on Friday his daughter was in brother Rhett's boat about a mile-and-a-half off-shore swimming in the water when she suddenly felt something hit her in the back of the leg.
Addison Bethea, 17, is pictured in hospital in Tallahassee days after a shark attacked her. Brother, Rhett Willingham, 22, left, saved her life by beating away the shark
Dad, Shane Addison, 46, says he is grateful his daughter is alive following a shark attack
Addison said that at first she thought her brother was playing around and only when she looked down did she notice that it was a shark
'Addison thought her brother was just playing around until a 9-foot shark latched onto her thigh and she started screaming, and there was blood everywhere,' he said.
As his daughter tried to pull the shark off her leg, her brother started beating nonstop on the beast trying to pry his sister loose. Once she was free, he grabbed her and carried her to his boat. A random stranger saw that the pair were in distress.
Rhett placed his sister on the stranger's boat and then he used a 4 foot tourniquet around her right upper leg top stop the bleeding.
'The shark got her bad,' Shane said. 'She was very pale, and nearly going into shock.'
Rhett called for an ambulance and when they arrived back on land, she was airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital some 80 miles away.
Addison was rushed into emergency surgery. Doctors now have to decide whether they will be able to save a portion of the leg for prosthetics.
Rhett Willingham, 22 saved his sister Addison Bethea, 17, during a shark attack on Thursday
Growing up in Florida, Addison is familiar with the region's beaches and was scalloping
She is scheduled for another surgery on Saturday.
'The shark attacked her right leg, front quad muscle was completely annihilated. It was devastating, a nasty, nasty wound. The vascular surgeon took the vein from the left leg and turned it into an artery for the right leg to get blood flow.'
He said: 'She lost her leg but doctors are trying to avoid taking her leg off from her hip.'
Her father said the shark bit her lower leg first and it wasn't so severe but the second bite was when all the damage was done.
'The shark latched onto her leg and was thrashing around. That is what sharks do they grab meat and rip it off. That is what sharks do when they attack.'
Addison Bethea was attacked by a shark near Grassy Island, off Keaton Beach in Taylor County
He said his daughter was sedated and intubated. He said she didn't know the extent of how bad the damage was until he told her.
'When she woke up, she was intubated and unable to speak. We gave her our cell phone and she wrote the she wanted a 'Frosty from Wendy's.''
He father said that Addison was in pretty good spirits but at times felt extremely sad. Her friends also came to visit her in the ICU.
Shane said that his daughter was a cheerleader, played tennis and was very active as she prepared to head into her senior year of high school.
'Doctors are doing another surgery on Saturday and we will see what they can do. Above the knee or worst case scenario by the hip,' Shane explained.
Surgeons will now attempt to salvage enough tissue from her lower leg in order for it to be suitable for prosthetics to be fitted.
'That she is even alive is the number one thing!' Shane said.
'That she is even alive is the number one thing!' Shane said of his daughter, Addison