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The BBC's Rachel Ellison
"The boy remains in a critical condition"
 real 56k

Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 23:49 GMT 00:49 UK
Boy's arm reattached after shark attack
Shark at  Pensacola Beach, Florida
The shark was wrestled to shore by the boy's uncle
An eight-year-old boy whose right arm was bitten off by a shark and retrieved from the predator's throat was recovering from surgery to reattach the limb, a Florida hospital official said on Sunday.


He should have a normally growing limb

Jueliet De Campos
Orthopedic surgeon
The boy, Jessie Arbogast, was in a critical condition but had begun to regain consciousness and was showing signs of recognizing his family, said spokeswoman Pam Bilbrey at the Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.

"He had a good 24 hours. He shows no sign of infection. There's no sign of loss of blood supply or blood flow to the arm, which are all good signs," Ms Bilbrey said.

Jessie was playing in knee-deep water at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in northwest Florida at dusk on Friday when a seven foot (2.1-metre) bull shark bit off his arm between the elbow and shoulder.

He also got "a big chunk bitten out of his leg," Ms Bilbrey said.

A female white pointer shark estimated to be approximately 5.5 metres in length
People who come under attack should kick, punch or try to jab the shark in the eyes or gills

Jessie's uncle carried him to shore, where relatives and beachgoers gave him cardiopulmonary resuscitation until he was flown by helicopter to the hospital.

The uncle then wrestled the shark to the beach, where a park ranger shot it four times in the head, causing it to relax its jaws.

The ranger pried the shark's mouth open with a police baton while volunteer fire-fighter Tony Thomas reached in and pulled the arm from the shark's throat using a pair of forceps, park officials said.

Emergency workers put the arm on ice and it was reattached during 11 hours of surgery on Saturday.

Doctors said it was too early to tell if Jessie would regain full use of the limb.

Remarkably 'clean' bite

Dr Ian Rogers, the plastic surgeon who reattached the arm, told a news conference the wound was "remarkably clean" for a shark bite but that Jessie had lost a lot of blood and had no pulse or blood pressure when he arrived at the hospital.

Dr Rogers said he was hopeful that Jessie could regain near normal use of the arm within 18 months.

The boy required more than 30 pints (14 litres) of blood during surgery.

Jessie, from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, had been on holiday in Florida with his family.

The International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida confirmed 79 unprovoked shark attacks on humans worldwide in 2000, and more than a third of those occurred in Florida waters.

Ten of the attacks were fatal, including one in Florida.

Odds game

International Shark Attack File director George Burgess has said that attacks are an odds game based on how many hours you are in the water.

He said: "Florida has a huge number of people in the water and the number of person-hours in the water is probably higher than anywhere in the world."

People who come under attack should kick, punch or try to jab the shark in the eyes or gills, Mr Burgess said.

Gary Violetta, curator of fishes at Sea World Orlando, said: "There is a much better chance of getting struck by lightning than being attacked by a shark."

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