A 35-year-old Texas woman who was attacked by a shark while with family in the Lower Keys a week ago is recovering from a large wound on her leg, Florida wildlife police said Tuesday.
“Surgeries have gone well and she started physical therapy,” said Jason Rafter, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in a text message.
The update is different from the terrifying moments described in the FWC’s report about a shark biting the woman off Summerland Key on June 29 — a rare event in Florida, particularly in the Keys.
FWC released the report Tuesday, nearly a week after the shark bite, and after not announcing the incident at all. On Friday, Rafter confirmed a woman had been bitten by a shark but offered no details and said the full report would be made available after the Fourth of July.
Lindsay Rebecca Bruns, of Flower Mound, Texas, was on a pontoon boat with her husband and their two daughters, east of Sawyer Key on the Gulf side.
At about 8 p.m. June 29 — 20 minutes before sunset that day, according to the National Weather Service — they stopped to jump into the clear, calm water that measured about 10 feet deep.
The mother jumped off the boat’s top platform multiple times into the water.
Then she did a flip. That’s when her husband Luke Bruns, 42, heard a huge splash — too big to have been made by his wife, he told state wildlife officers.
He turned and saw more splashing and water spilling over and into the vessel.
Then he saw nothing but blood in the water.
His wife emerged from the water screaming, “Help!” That’s when Luke Bruns dove in and helped her to the boat’s ladder and onto the pontoon.
“He saw the large wound on her right leg, consistent with a shark attack,” the state agency’s report said.
With blood squirting from his wife’s leg, he used some rope as a makeshift tourniquet to try to stop the bleeding. He called 911 and was told to bring her to Tonio’s Seafood Shack on Summerland Key.
Officers help the family
Lindsay Bruns was left with a half-circle shaped wound on her right leg, the report said.
“It extended from the top of her hip to just above her knee,” wrote FWC Officer Christopher Boley, who met the pontoon as it arrived and showed Luke Bruns where to park it.
“It appeared to be from a serrated impact, and there were puncture marks on her thigh, consistent with a shark attack.” Boley wrote.
Boley took out his FWC-issued tourniquet and applied it to Lindsay Bruns’ leg until paramedics arrived. He and other FWC officers helped place her onto a backboard and into the ambulance.
She was taken to Jackson South Medical Center in Miami-Dade on Monroe County’s Trauma Star helicopter air ambulance. During the flight, she was given a blood transfusion, according to Kristen Livengood, a spokeswoman for Monroe County.
Lindsay Bruns was in stable condition when she arrived at the Miami-Dade hospital.
Most shark bites happen in the United States, and the state where most of them occur is Florida, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, which tracks annual shark bites worldwide.
FWC didn’t confirm what type of shark bit Bruns.
Typically, it’s smaller species of shark that mistake human limbs for prey but seldom leave life-threatening injuries. Florida had 28 shark bites last year, none fatal. Volusia County topped the list with 17 shark bites, followed by Brevard, Miami-Dade and St. Lucie counties — all with two bites each, according to the ISAF.
The report on the Keys shark bite also shows FWC officers doing whatever they could for the family that night.
Boley and other officers washed the blood off the pontoon while Luke Bruns cared for his daughters.
An officer later drove the pontoon back to the 1000 block of Ocean Drive on Summerland where the Bruns family was staying at the time.