Teen survives attack from ‘aggressive’ 9-foot shark that led to loss of leg

A teenager who has survived a brutal attack from an "aggressive" nine-foot shark after her brother intervened in a terrifying rescue operation.

Addison Bethea, 17, had been swimming in the waters of Keaton Beach, Florida, when she saw a shark swim up alongside her and begin to attack.

The nine-foot beast dealt devastating damage to the teenager, who lost her right leg due to injuries after the shark bit down in the gruesome attack.

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Her survival has seen brother Rhett Willingham, a firefighter and EMT, come to her rescue in what the pair's mother has described as an act of divine intervention from "God".

Addison, who is said to have been attacked by the aggressive shark "several times", attempted to fight off the beast, saying she "started socking it in the face, then I poked its eyes, then I tried to latch it off with my fingers, and then it bit my hand."

Her cries for help were heard by brother Rhett, who sprang to action and managed to separate the nine-foot beast and his younger sister.

Addison was airlifted to hospital after the county's first-ever recorded shark attack, where she was treated for her injuries, including the loss of her leg from the knee down.

Preparing Addison for her prosthetics and rehabilitation, her mother Michelle says, are key to an "even better quality of life going forward."

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Michelle added: "God had his hand in this from the moment Addison was bitten by the shark.

"We know it’s a miracle she is alive because when the shark bit her it got her femoral artery in her right leg; most people die within minutes from that type of injury. It was a blessing that her brother, Rhett, was there.

"Boater Christopher Leggett is the one who pulled her from the water. Another boater, Domenic Scorpio, drove Rhett and Addison to Keaton Beach in his boat. Both are men of faith.

"It is amazing they were present in the area that day, and didn’t hesitate to come to their aid. Addison was also blessed by having an amazing medical team."

Addison, who has been presented with a Local hero award by the Sheriff's department of Taylor County, added that she would "keep pushing forward" and thanked the community for their support.

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