Park ranger describes shark victim's rescue
A shark on Friday attacked a Mississippi boy near Pensacola, Florida. After the boy's uncle wrestled the shark to shore, park rangers shot it so they could retrieve the boy's arm, which the shark had torn loose. CNN's Brian Cabell on Monday spoke with J.R. Tomasovic, chief park ranger, about the boy's rescue.
CABELL: Tell me this, first of all, were there -- have there been many shark attacks out there?
J.R. TOMASOVIC: The last attack we had was in 1999.
CABELL: But you've seen sharks out there on a regular basis?
TOMASOVIC: That's correct. Shark activity off the park is a daily event to us.
CABELL: What did your people do? You had three people out there, what did they do?
TOMASOVIC: We initially got a call that there had been a shark attack with CPR in progress. And we had two of our rangers respond to the scene: Ranger Klein and Ranger Lakota.
When Ranger Lakota arrived on scene, the boy's aunt was performing CPR on the child. Ranger Lakota took over CPR. Ranger Klein went over to where the shark was and they determined that the shark probably had the boy's arm inside its gullet. Ranger Klein proceeded to shoot the shark four times. They were able to pry open the shark's mouth with an expandable baton and one of our lifeguards, Tony Thomas, reached into the shark's mouth with a pair of hemostats to pull out the arm.
CABELL: Are they trained to do anything like this?
TOMASOVIC: Well, we train to deal with various situations, but this is one for the books.
CABELL: How are they doing now?
TOMASOVIC: Well, it's a traumatic event, as you can imagine. You know, an 8-year-old boy that had totally bled out on the scene, performing CPR and then reaching in and removing a human limb. They're doing well. They're returning to work, and we're extremely proud of them.
CABELL: Real quick, any advice for people who are out here bathing in the Gulf?
TOMASOVIC: Well, you know, the Gulf is a natural environment, just like any other park area is, and you need to be concerned about your environment. You need not to be in the water at dusk and dawn, especially with the shark activity -- that's their prime feeding time.
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