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Florida teen bitten by shark says there’s nothing to be afraid of after ‘really rare’ incident

Dempsey Manhart, a 14-year-old lifeguard trainee, is speaking out after being bitten by a shark in Volusia County, which is described as the shark capital of the world.

A 14-year-old boy who was bitten by a shark during a Florida lifeguard training drill this week is now speaking out about the incident, saying that he doesn’t think “there’s really anything to be scared of.”

Volusia County Beach Safety officials confirmed to Fox News Digital that the attack involving Dempsey Manhart unfolded in Ponce Inlet on Monday, where he was bitten on the right calf during a Junior Lifeguard Camp.

Witnesses say Manhart was bitten by a 4 to 5 Black Tip, which is commonly found around the area.


“I dove onto it, and I hit the shark,” he told Fox 35 Orlando. “I hit it with my hands, and then I stood up, and it spun around and was like underneath my legs. And I think it bit me then when it was wrapped around my feet.”

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The teenager said he didn’t realize he had hit a shark at first.

“When it came under my feet, I was like hitting it, and then it swam away. Then that’s when I saw the shark,” Manhart said.

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While the teenager needed 17 stitches and can’t return to normal activity just yet, Manhart said Tuesday that he was excited to get back to lifeguard training.

“Because I think that it’s something really rare that can happen. And if it’s happened once, I doubt it’s going to happen again. So I don’t think there’s really anything to be scared of,” said Manhart. 

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The teenager said his father, who is a deputy, lifeguard and EMT, is a great source of inspiration for him and that the shark bite shouldn’t deter him from saving people in the future.

While Manhart is eager to return to the ocean, Volusia County was deemed as the shark capital of the world, according to a report from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack file.

Since 1882, Volusia County has had more than 350 shark attacks, including 16 incidents in 2023.

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