A nine-year-old boy is recovering in the hospital after being attacked by a shark in waist-deep water off of Miami Beach, leaving him in need of more than 20 stitches to close a gaping wound on his shoulder.

By Liane Morejon

Kristine said she and her son, Jay, were in the water only for a few minutes.

“I was holding his hand the whole time and he was kind of body surfing a little bit and he had fallen on his stomach,” Kristine said.

Jay, pictured above with his puppy, may need a skin graft in the future 

When she pulled him up, Kristine noticed what she said was a chunk of skin missing from the boy’s shoulder.

“He just said, ‘Ow,’ and I looked down and there was about a 4-foot gray shark just kinda swimming away, so I just scooped him up and ran him up the beach,” Kristine said.

At least 20 stitches are visible on the boy’s shoulder, surrounded by dozens of puncture wounds all over his right arm and the side of his body 

Miami Beach Fire Rescue met the family on the sand near Third Street. Jay was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital and rushed in to surgery to close the large wound.

“I just love him so much. He’s such a great kid and we’re still in shock, but thankful. We thank God that he didn’t take his life. That he’s gonna be OK,” the boy’s father, Ren, said.

Doctors have warned of the possibilities of infection and potential long-term effects of the injury on Jay’s mobility.

However, because he is so young, Jay is likely to recover well, though he may need to have a skin graft in the future.

The US reported 33 unprovoked shark attacks last year, according to the early World Shark Attack Summary released by The University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF) in January.

Sixteen of those attacks took place in Florida. 

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