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Winter Springs shark bite victim receives special visitors

ORLANDO -- A young boy bitten by a shark at Cocoa Beach last weekend got a special visit Saturday from the people who rescued him.

Lucas Vertullo of Winter Springs has been recovering at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, but his spirits were lifted when members of Brevard County Fire Rescue, Brevard County Ocean Rescue and the Cocoa Beach Fire Department went to Orlando to pay him a special visit.

They brought department T-shirts, hats, gift cards and even a bright, orange lifeguard can signed by everyone who jumped into action Sunday to save him at Lori Wilson Park.

Lucas, an avid baseball player, even autographed a ball for the rescue workers.

Ocean Rescue officials said Lucas was swimming in waistdeep water in front of a lifeguard tower when a shark latched onto his leg, leaving him with a severe laceration on his right calf.

"It was probably one of the worst shark bites we've had out here," said Brevard County Ocean Rescue Assistant Chief Eisen Witcher.

Lifeguards quickly brought Lucas to shore and bandaged his leg.

The shark is thought to have been a small, juvenile bull shark about 4 feet long.

The beach was shut down for about an hour after the attack as lifeguards flew double red flags, warning people to stay out of the water. After the beach was reopened, lifeguards flew a yellow flag warning of a "medium hazard."

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