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11-foot shark bites 21-year-old Longboat Key man

Connor Bystrom docks the family boat at his parents home in Holmes Beach following the incident offshore of Anna Maria in which his friend C.J. Wickersham was bit by an 11-foot-long bull shark. Islander Photo: Jeannie Bystrom

The Manatee County Sheriff’s office reports that at approximately 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, C.J. Wickersham, 21, of Longboat Key, suffered a shark bite to his left thigh while spearfishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

He was with a group of five friends offshore of Anna Maria Island, including Connor Bystrom, 22, of Holmes Beach when the incident occurred. The group was aboard the Bystrom family’s boat.

According to Connor’s mother, Jeannie Bystrom, who went to the Rod & Reel Pier as the boat and the ambulance that had been called to meet them arrived, three men were spearfishing while three female friends were relaxing in float chairs.

Jeannie Bystrom said Wickersham was bit on his thigh by an 11-foot bull shark and the group immediately got Wickersham and everyone else aboard, called 911 and headed to the pier.

Wickersham was transferred to a Bayflite helicopter ambulance and transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Jeannie Bystrom said he was alert after the incident, and that he was heading into surgery at 5:30 p.m. The bite is approximately 12 by 12 inches.

Look for more on this incident in the Sept. 28 edition of The Islander.

3 Responses to 11-foot shark bites 21-year-old Longboat Key man

  1. sydneey Schieve says:

    The blood from the Spear fishing will attract Sharks. Such a dangerous sport in Shark waters. A sad lesson to learn.

  2. T-Rex says:

    Before everyone blames the shark…ask yourself: Was the shark in the human’s home or was the human in the shark’s home? It was just an accident.

  3. David Gryboski says:

    This is a great example of how to deal with an emergency at sea. The quick actions of the people involved including calling ahead and promptly applying the tourniquet saved the diver’s life. The people on the boat and the emergency services should be applauded. Great job in a bad situation!

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