Despite more than 80 stitches from a shark bite, 9-year-old Sebastian Cozzan is expected to be back soon surfing, said his father — who himself was bitten by a shark in the same area off John D. MacArthur State Park two decades ago.
“He’s doing great. He loves the water,” said his father David. “He’s a kid. They recover fast.”
Sebastian, a third-grader at St. Clare Catholic School in North Palm Beach, is recovering at home after he was bitten Friday on his right foot and treated at St. Mary’s Community Hospital. He is on crutches, and the stitches are expected to come out in about a week, said his father.
“I just kicked the shark inside the mouth and he just got hurt I think,” Sebastian told WPBF-TV 25 after the attack.
David Cozzan, a salesman for the Riviera Beach-based food distributor Cheney Brothers, said he was 19 years old when he was surfing in the same area when he was bitten by a shark. David’s injury was on his left foot.
“The bite wasn’t close to the extent of the bite my son received. I did not require any stitches,” said David.
Sebastian was about 20 feet offshore when the shark attacked, between where the sand drops off and the sandbar begins. Sebastian had begged to surf for a few minutes, but was quickly snatched and dragged into the water. His mother told WPBF TV that she ran to help him, but the shark had released him by the time she got to him.
There have been other shark attacks recently in Palm Beach County.
To the south, Gulf Stream Park also called swimmers out of the water three or four times Sunday because of shark activity.
A shark clamped on to Kurt Hoffman’s arm Saturday off Delray Beach, as the 43-year-old was kite surfing. Doctors chose not to stitch up more than a dozen punctures left in his forearm, hoping the bacteria would be free to drain from the wound.
And Sunday, 22-year-old Adam Fisk had a different kind of shark encounter, hanging out a fishing line from his kayak and getting a bite from a hammerhead. The shark dragged Fisk on a two-hour northbound tour from the Boynton Inlet to the Lake Worth pier before the Florida Atlantic University senior cut the line.
Fisk, who is aiming for a career with the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is confident the shark wasn’t struggling.
Fisk said he goes kayaking almost every weekend. On Sunday, he got in the water at Delray Beach 6 a.m. with a camera strapped to a band around his head and some fishing poles aboard. Hours later, he had arrived at the Boynton Inlet.
“I had my bait probably 4 feet from the kayak when I saw it jump up and take it,” Fisk said. The shark took over navigation pulling him all the way to Lake Worth.
“I’ve hooked sharks, but not that big and never on purpose,” Fisk said on a break before his Spanish test Wednesday. “It was about 11-foot and my kayak is about 12.”
Meanwhile, Fisk’s dad was concerned about his son when he learned about the encounter.
“Believe me,” Thomas Fisk said. “I’m a pediatrician, so we’re incredibly safety-conscious.”
That said, the elder Fisk added, “Despite the dangerous nature of it, he takes precautions. You know when you’re 22, you think you’re invincible.”