Tragedy on the Shores: Teen Loses Hand and Leg in Florida Shark Attack During First Beach Trip with Mom

Tragedy on the Shores: Teen Loses Hand and Leg in Florida Shark Attack During First Beach Trip with Mom
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Lulu Grib­bin, a 15-year-old girl from Birm­ing­ham, Alaba­ma, was on her first moth­er-daugh­ter beach trip with her mom, Ann Blair Grib­bin, when tragedy struck. On Fri­day, Lulu was attacked by a shark while swim­ming along the Flori­da coast­line, result­ing in the loss of her left hand and part of her right leg.

The attack, which occurred along a four-mile stretch of the Flori­da coast­line, also saw anoth­er Alaba­ma teen, McCray Faust, 17, bit­ten on the foot, and a 45-year-old Vir­ginia woman, Elis­a­beth Foley, los­ing part of her left hand.

In a heart­break­ing account, Lulu’s moth­er described the hor­rif­ic moment she wit­nessed her daugh­ter’s wounds. “I saw her wounds on her leg and start­ed to scream,” the mom wrote on caringbridge.org. “She was life­less her eyes closed mouth white and pale. The wound on her leg or all that was left of her leg was some­thing out of a movie.”

The two teenage girls were attacked about an hour and a half after the attack on Foley, lead­ing offi­cials to believe that the same shark was like­ly respon­si­ble for all three incidents.

For­tu­nate­ly, two doc­tors who were vaca­tion­ing in the area hap­pened to be in the water dur­ing the attacks and pro­vid­ed imme­di­ate life-sav­ing care to Lulu. The crit­i­cal­ly injured teen was then air­lift­ed to Sacred Heart Hos­pi­tal in Pen­saco­la, about an hour and 20 min­utes away.

“We prayed the entire way,” the dis­traught moth­er wrote. At the hos­pi­tal, Lulu’s moth­er learned that her daugh­ter had lost her left hand in the attack and that doc­tors had to ampu­tate her right leg halfway between the knee and hip. Lulu also lost two-thirds of the blood in her body due to the sever­i­ty of the injuries.

Despite the trau­mat­ic ordeal, Lulu’s resilience shone through. On Sat­ur­day, her vitals had improved sig­nif­i­cant­ly, and she was able to breathe on her own. “This was a first big step,” the mom wrote. “Once she was set­tled her first words to us were ‘I made it.’ And boy she did.”

The com­mu­ni­ty has ral­lied around the Grib­bin fam­i­ly, and Lulu’s moth­er expressed grat­i­tude for the hos­pi­tal staff and the doc­tors and nurs­es who were on the beach and pro­vid­ed life-sav­ing care to her daugh­ter. “Lulu is strong, beau­ti­ful, brave and so many more things I can’t count,” the mom wrote. “God has a plan for her, and we will be there to sup­port her every way we can.”

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