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Teenager killed in Florida shark attack

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(CNN) -- A 14-year-old girl died Saturday in a shark attack while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, authorities said.

The teenager was dragged underwater by the shark at about 11:15 a.m. in front of a campground near the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, near Destin, Florida, according to the South Walton Fire District.

She lost a leg in the attack and died afterward, district official John Fitch said.

At the time of the attack, the girl and a 14-year-old friend were swimming and using "boogie boards" about 200 to 250 yards offshore, said Lt. Frank Owens of the Walton County Sheriff's office.

The friend saw the attack and her friend being dragged under, he said.

"For a regular swimmer, she was pretty far out," Capt. Danny Glidewell of the sheriff's office told CNN.

Usually, only surfers go that far out in the water, he said.

Once swimmers pass the first sandbar, or dropoff, "you will experience more sightings of sharks," he said, although this is the area's first shark attack.

Although shark sightings are not uncommon along the coast, Owens said, no one had seen a shark in the area Saturday before the attack. Green flags indicated calm surf, Glidewell said.

Beaches in southern Walton County were closed after the attack and will remain closed for at least the rest of the day, Owens told CNN.

Authorities anticipate opening the beaches Sunday, Glidewell said, but a final decision has not been made.

Observers have not seen the shark since the incident, and it's believed to have left the area, Owens said.

Authorities do not know what kind of shark it was.

Fitch said the shark was about 11 feet long. Owens said he could not confirm that size, but noted that many species swim in the warm waters off the Florida coast.

The shark apparently was chasing bait fish in the water, Fitch said.

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