shark attacks
A surfer carries his board into the water next to a sign declaring a shark sighting on Sydney's Manly Beach, Australia, Nov. 24, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray

A 10-year-old girl at a Florida beach fought off a shark that bit her hand and legs while she was boogie-boarding. Peyton Shields was celebrating her birthday with her family at Crescent Beach, about 40 miles north of Daytona Beach on Friday when the incident took place.

Local media WJXT reported the shark attacked Peyton in the waist-high waves and sunk its teeth into both her legs. The girl tried to fight off the shark when the predator bit her left hand as well. The girl somehow managed to escape a fatal attack.

Peyton’s parents heard their daughter's screams and initially assumed she was stung by a jellyfish. They had only been at the beach for about an hour when the attack took place.

“I saw she had blood coming out of her hand and then I started going into, ‘What’s going on?’” Steve Shields, Peyton’s father, told WJXT. “Then when she got out, I saw there was a lot more blood coming from the lower half.”

Peyton's parents put pressure on the wounds and called 911, local media reported. She was later taken to a nearby hospital where she received 40 stitches. It remains unknown what shark species attacked the girl, who was terrified by the attack. But she still planned to jump back into the ocean once she recovers, her family told WJXT.

“She’s mad because she can’t go swimming and get in the water and all that stuff,” her father told the news station. “She said, ‘The shark’s gone. I’m ready to get back in.’"

In late March, a South Florida man was bitten by a shark off Hobe Sound Beach, 220 miles south of Crescent Beach where the latest incident took place, while he was surfing. Chris Bryan, 42, underwent surgery to repair an injured tendon after the shark bit him on the foot. It is believed that the shark involved in that attack was a 4-foot blacktip.

In another incident the same month, an 11-year-old boy on vacation from Iowa was bitten by a shark off Stuart Beach while boogie-boarding with his mother. Stuart Beach is less than 30 miles away from Hobe Sound Beach.

In January, the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File released a report saying there were fewer shark bites reported worldwide last year. There were 66 unprovoked attacks documented in 2018, compared with 88 in 2017. Florida, which annually tops the leaderboard for shark attacks in the U.S., reported 16 unprovoked bites, down from 31 in 2017.