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10/16/2006 Blaise Castellano Jr. (Florida)

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10/16/2006 Blaise Castellano Jr. (Florida)

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Englewood teenager recounts shark attack

ENGLEWOOD -- Blaise Castellano Jr. went to Florida's east coast hoping to catch a big one. Instead, a big one caught him.

The Lemon Bay High School sophomore was bitten by a shark during a surfing and fishing trip to Sebastian Inlet this week.

"It was pretty crazy," Blaise said Friday. "I guess the shark thought my foot was a mullet. Then it was gone.

"There was blood everywhere."

The shark left three 5-inch lacerations in the boy's shin, 10 small puncture wounds in the bottom of his foot and one large hole in his heel.

Blaise, 15, got 34 stitches at Sebastian River Medical Center.

The hospital confirmed that emergency room doctors treated a shark bite Monday.

Blaise and his father also said the doctors told them it was a shark bite.

With Charlotte County schools closed Monday and Tuesday, Blaise and several friends decided to go to the beach to celebrate one buddy's birthday.

"I wouldn't call it a shark attack; I would just call it a shark bite," said Randy Fogo, the birthday boy's father and the one who drove Blaise to the hospital.

The waves weren't good for surfing Monday, so the group decided to fish about a mile north of Sebastian Inlet, Blaise said.

There was a lot of bait in the water, but no one saw the shark that bit Blaise, said Kevin Fogo, who was celebrating his 16th birthday on the trip.

Blaise was in chest-high water when the shark clamped down on his right leg.

Sainy Taha, 16, said he had just started wading away from Blaise when he heard the boy say, "Aaaugh."

"I turned back around and saw him paddle in as fast as he could," Sainy said. "He was telling everyone 'Don't go in the water.' I was looking right at his ankle, and I just saw white tissue."

When Blaise reached down and touched the wound, "it started gushing blood," Sainy said.

Sainy handed Randy Fogo his shirt and pulled a shoelace out of a sneaker. Fogo wrapped the shirt around Blaise's leg and tied it off with the shoe string.

Only Fogo went with Blaise to the hospital, but none of the boys went back into the water Monday, Sainy said.

They did go swimming Tuesday, but "not at that spot," he said with a chuckle.

When Blaise returned to school Thursday, everyone knew about the bite.

Freshmen he had never met and students behind him in the lunch line pointed him out, he said.

Because so many people asked about the injury, Blaise put photographs of the bite on his MySpace.com Web page.

Blaise has to use crutches for two weeks and stay off his right foot completely, he said.

Within six weeks, he'll be back to running and skateboarding.

"I did a pretty good number for getting my first stitches," he said. "It's a good story."

http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs. ... /610210487
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