JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - A shark bite victim is recovering Thursday night after being bit on the foot Wednesday. It's believed a shark was behind the attack.
According to Chad Renfro's mom, Chad had surgery on his foot Wednesday night. She says the bite severed a nerve, ripped a tendon and took part of his bone. 85 stitches later, he was finally headed home.
"It's not uncommon, and we've had a few pretty bad shark bites at Jacksonville Beach," said Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Captain Thomas Wright.
Chad was lucky. His mom Danielle tells Action News he's been surfing since he was five and while he's always known sharks are out there--but he thought he'd win the lottery before ever being bit. Danielle says they're guessing his attacker was either a Bull or Lemon shark because they're known aggressors. She says he was paddling back out from taking a wave when it happened.
The big question now, heading into Memorial Day weekend, is the water safe to swim in?
"For the most part, yeah, it's safe to swim in," said Captain Wright. "That's where the sharks live. Its not the backyard swimming pool so that's where they live and you need to be cognizant of that."
Bottom line, Captain Wright says it's important to swim near lifeguards and be aware you aren't alone out there.
"Ask questions is it safe to swim today are there boogers that are out there that might get me?"
Chad's mom says their biggest concern is he plays basketball for Barry University in Miami. They're hoping he is able to get all of his mobility back to play next year.
Lifeguards stress the biggest thing to watch for this holiday weekend are the hazardous rip currents. A storm coming up from the south is making the water rougher than usual.