Boy, 11, bitten in foot by shark while swimming at Florida beach

FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH, Fla. (WSVN/CNN) - An 11-year-old boy has been released from the hospital after receiving 17 stitches for what doctors believe was a shark bite to his right foot.

Christian Mariani, 11, was provided with first aid to the bite on his right foot before he was taken to the hospital. (Source: Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue/WSVN/CNN)

Christian Mariani, 11, has a pretty good story to tell when he starts seventh grade in Canada in a few days. Over his summer vacation, he got bitten by a shark but is expected to be OK.

The boy went swimming in waist-deep water Wednesday morning, while he and his family were vacationing on Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida. Suddenly, he felt a biting, stinging sensation on his right foot.

“It was really scary because I knew something bit me,” Christian said. “It didn’t really feel like it was pulling… I felt it clamp down, and then it let go, and then I ran out.”

As soon as he was out of the water, Christian saw a lot of blood on his food. Fortunately, a group of lifeguards happened to be training nearby and heard the boy’s screams. They provided him with first aid before he was taken to the hospital.

“Just the fear of not knowing what bit you and what’s gonna happen to your foot after, that is the scariest feeling that I think I have ever experienced,” Christian said.

Doctors believe the 11-year-old was bitten by a shark. He received 17 stitches but should otherwise be OK.

"It was just a bite and let go, so that was lucky for him,” said Dr. Francis Amador with Broward Health Medical Center.

Christian says he doesn’t plan on letting his close encounter with a shark stop him from going back into the ocean. As soon as his stitches are removed, he will return to the water.

"I feel more lucky than unlucky. I know it’s a very low chance to get bit by a shark. But to be in the condition I am right now, that is also very lucky,” he said.

Fire rescue officials say shark bites are not common, but they do happen.

"This time of year, we see a lot of bait fish that are coming down the coast, and it’s the ocean. It’s very natural for these fish to be feeding,” said Chief Stephen Gollan with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.

Copyright 2019 WSVN, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue via CNN. All rights reserved.