STUART, Fla. (CBS 12) — Jessica Veatch was enjoying a Sunday afternoon at Bathtub Reef Beach in Stuart with her boyfriend and three children.
Veatch said she and her 3-year-old, Violet, went back in the ocean around 1:30 p.m. to find her lost sunglasses when the unthinkable happened.
Jessica Veatch said she was standing in two feet of water when a shark bit her daughter in the leg.
“She brought her up on the beach. She was hysterical. Bleeding all over. A big chunk of leg missing,” said Richard Traychuk, Veatch's boyfriend. He said he was about to apply a tourniquet to Violet’s leg when a doctor miraculously showed up.
Veatch said, “he was a blessing. He was a miracle. He was a blessing when we needed a miracle.”
On Monday, Veatch got good news. Violet started wiggling her toes.
“Optimistic that she’s going to be able to walk again,” said Veatch. “I'm just glad she still has her leg. With the gruesome scene that I saw, pulling her out of the water. I'm really shocked that she still has her leg.”
A wound specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital, where she was flown Sunday afternoon, measured the shark bite at seven inches wide.
“They had to reattach the ligament and they had to do some work with the meniscus in her knee just because where the shark bit her. There's going to be a lot of plastic surgery just to make sure the muscles grow with the wound,” said Veatch.
Veatch said Violet is heavily sedated at the hospital to keep her from feeling pain but she woke up for about 15 minutes Monday morning.
She has to stay at the hospital for the next five weeks. After that, she will have a lot of rehabilitation.
“She’s a tough little girl,” said Veatch.
Violet was in the hospital when she was just a month old to get her kidney removed. She said he little girl can handle the long road ahead.
They started a Go Fund Me account to help with the expenses.
Officials haven’t confirmed what type of shark bit violet, but people on the beach said it was a bull shark.
Veatch said people were spear fishing close to them near the beach and that’s why the shark made its way to the shallow two feet of water.
According to Ocean Rescue Chief Brad Beckett, you can’t spear fish within 300 feet of people swimming and you can’t fish within 50 feet of people swimming.
He said if lifeguards see that kind of activity, the lifeguards ask the people to move. If they don’t move, he said, the lifeguard is then supposed to call Florida Fish and Wildlife.