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NBC 4 New York
A teenager from New Jersey says he survived a shark attack while vacationing with his family in Florida. Gus Rosendale has the exclusive.
A New Jersey teenager is recovering after he was attacked by what he believes was a shark while he was fishing in Florida.
Christian Mercurio, a rising high school senior in Randolph, N.J., was fishing in waist-high water off the coast in Sanibel, Fla., a week ago when his legs and feet were suddenly seized underwater.
"It felt like my feet were crushed by cement," he told NBC 4 New York.
He began screaming for help, and his mother, thinking he was joking around, told him to stop.
"My mom was like, 'Don't yell 'shark.' You will cause a panic,'" Mercurio said.
But his mother, Lisa Mercurio, flew into action when she realized what was happening to her son.
"We sat him down, elevated his legs," said his mother, who is a registered nurse "Luckily, people started throwing us beach towels."
Florida investigators think it was a 6- to 8-foot-long bull shark that went after Christian. The teeth missed major arteries, but they pierced his leg and left a wound on his foot.
Christian thinks the shark became more aggressive as he tried to escape.
The Mercurios say they will go back in the water despite the ordeal, and all of them are grateful the run-in with the shark was a survivor story.
"It's still surreal," said Lisa Mercurio. "Definitely still shocked. He spent the week watching 'Shark Week.' I spent the week with nightmares."