Shark Bites Off Boy’s Arm In Florida. Uncle Comes To Rescue, Fights Shark, Grabs Arm

By | March 17, 2017

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Back in July 2001, an 8-year-old boy named Jessie Arbogast experienced one of the worst things that can happen to a person swimming in the ocean – he was bit by a shark. Jessie was swimming in Florida’s Langdon Beach when a massive bull shark that was 7 feet long and over 200 pounds sank its sharp teeth into his arm and bit it off.  He pulled Jessie out of the water and then immediately plunged back in. He wanted to save what was left of his nephew’s arm. Vance jumped back into the water and began wrestling with the shark. Miraculously, he was able to drag the massive shark to shore, and a park ranger shot it in the head. “He just wrestled it,” said District Ranger supervisor John Bandurski. “His uncle’s a big guy and he got hold of it and tossed it ashore.”


Jessie’s arm was removed from the shark’s gullet while Jessie himself was taken to the Baptist Hospital in Pensacola in an emergency helicopter which had arrived. Jessie’s arm was wrapped in ice and brought to the hospital as well.

Jessie was put into surgery immediately. The surgery lasted a total of 11 hours, and during the 11 hour surgery Jessie had been given a total of 30 pints of blood.

jesse arbogast

Dr. Ian Rogers was the surgeon who headed the procedure to attempt to re-attach Jessie’s severed arm. He had to shorten the bone and also install a plate which would essentially become the base where the tissues would connect. After this was done, the arteries, muscles, nerves and veins were carefully sewn together.

Doctors who operated on Jessie were shocked that he had even survived. “Because of the shark injuries and loss of blood associated with that, his brain did go through a period of time with a very low amount of blood flow,” one of the doctors said.

jesse arbogast

Jessie experienced brain damage from the blood loss and is now in a wheelchair. He communicates primarily through his eyes and still has massive scars between his shoulder and elbow. The shark also bit Jessie’s leg, and a large chunk of his right thigh is missing. Although the attack happened over 15 years ago, it’s still hard to believe that Jessie’s uncle  was able to fight a shark, wrestle it to shore, and retrieve his nephew’s arm. What’s even more shocking is that he survived, and that the doctors were able to reattach the arm.

jesse arbogast

What are your thoughts on this?