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Sunday, 12 August, 2001, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Shark attack boy leaves hospital
Jessie arrives at his home in Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Jessie is still very sick
Jessie Arbogast, the American boy who lost nearly all his blood when his arm was bitten off by a shark in Florida last month, has been released from hospital.

The bull shark at  Pensacola Beach, Florida
The shark was wrestled to shore by the boy's uncle
Jessie, who is eight years old, remains in a light coma but doctors said that familiar surroundings might aid his recovery.

His ambulance was greeted by children laughing and crying with happiness in his home town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Banners saying "Welcome Home Jessie" and yellow ribbons were hung throughout the town.

Progress

His kidneys have improved and he no longer needs dialysis.

The wounds in his leg and arm are healing and doctors say Jessie also has been making neurological progress. He sustained a brain injury due to blood loss.

But it could be up to 18 months before doctors will know how much use Jessie will regain of his arm.

Jesse alternates between periods of sleep and lying in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair with his eyes open, according to the doctors.

They say he responds to pain and deep stimulation.

Wrestling the shark

The accident happened on 6 July when the boy was on holiday with his family in Florida.

Shark attack victim Jessie Arbogast
Jessie Arbogast suffered massive blood loss
Jessie was playing in knee-deep water at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the north-west of the state at dusk when a two-metre (6.6-foot) bull shark bit off his arm between the elbow and shoulder. One of his legs was also severely gashed.

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.

Marathon surgery

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.

A female white pointer shark estimated to be approximately 5.5 metres in length
Ten people were killed in shark attacks around the world last year
Emergency workers put the arm on ice and it was reattached during 11 hours of surgery

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.

See also:

14 Jul 01 | Americas
Hope for shark attack boy
13 Jul 01 | Americas
Shark attack boy 'improving'
10 Jul 01 | Americas
Shark attack boy 'critical'
09 Feb 01 | Americas
Shark attacks at record high
20 Nov 00 | Americas
Pensioner fights off shark
07 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Shark-shooters prepare to kill
31 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Explosive end to shark 'attraction'
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