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Possible Shark Bite at Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale

Woman possibly bit by shark in Fort Lauderdale.

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    A 22-year-old woman was bit by what officials think may have been a shark Sunday in Fort Lauderdale. Victim Jessica Vaughn and friends describe the incident. (Published Monday, Jun 2, 2014)

    A 22-year-old woman was bit by what officials think may have been a shark Sunday in Fort Lauderdale.

    The woman, Jessica Vaughn, was inner tubing with a friend at the Intracoastal Waterway near Bayshore Drive around 2 p.m., according to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.

    Vaughn was in the water when she felt something on her leg and then felt a fin hit her face, officials said.

    "I got hit by something," Vaughn said. "And then I realized that my leg is cut open and it was pretty scary. It felt like somebody punched my leg. At first I wasn't sure, but then once I saw my leg, I was like, that's not just a fish. So then I realized it was a shark...and they saw it from the boat."

    The attack happened when Jessica was tubing with her friends and she said she was already nervous before the attack.

    "I don't like not being able to see the bottom," Vaughn said. "I don't know what's under there. Just go in there to go tubing, once I get to the tube, I'll be fine. On my way out there, it obviously happend. I was like, 'this really just happened to me.'"

    "I turned around when I heard the splash and I seen the fin caught her in the face," friend Nick Russo said.

    Vaughn's friend told her to get back on the boat, and when she did, that's when she saw what appeared to be a large bite mark on her leg, according to officials.

    "One side is all cut in and the other side you can see the teeth marks, I mean it's a full, full bite mark," friend Kyle Branston said.

    They made it back to 511 Bayshore Drive where they began yelling for help and someone nearby called 911.

    First responders were on the scene in just minutes and when they arrived, Jessica's friends had done some of their work for them.

    "I have to commend the crew of the boat for two things: One, they had a first-aid kit, and two, they used it. When we go tthere, she was very well bandaged," said Timothy Heiser of Fort Lauderdale Fire-R

    Vaughn was taken to Broward General Hospital for treatment. Vaughn's surgeon said it was the biggest shark bite he had treated and the shakr just missed several key arteries and veins.

    "It looks like he grabbed it and just pulled away," said Dr. Zoran Potparic. "So he pulled those tissues on the inner side of the thigh, leaving the big flap of tissue that was hanging and that was really the major wound."

    The 22 year old is expected to make a full recovery.

    "It's still surreal," Vaughn said. "I think about it and I can't believe it happened - especially to me."

    She doesn't have insurance so thanks to social media her friends set up an account to help pay for expense here.

    GRAPHIC PHOTO WARNING: Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue released the following photo of the injury on their Twitter feed:

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