12-year-old boy bitten in apparent shark attack in Florida, escapes with ‘very minor’ injuries: Official

Connah/iStock FILE(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A 12-year-old boy was bitten in an apparent shark attack in Florida Wednesday morning, escaping with only "very minor" injuries, according to a fire rescue official.

The boy was in waist-deep water at a Fort Lauderdale beach when he was bitten on his foot by what officials believe was a small shark, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Gollan told ABC News.

The boy screamed and started bleeding, but lifeguards rushed over and treated him, Gollan said.

The boy suffered a "very minor" puncture wound to his right foot and was taken to a local hospital with injuries that didn't appear to be life-threatening, Gollan said. He is expected to be released soon, he said.

This was the first shark attack Gollan was aware of in Fort Lauderdale this year.

He said the shark likely mistook the boy's toes as small fish.

"This time of year we see a lot of bait fish that are moving down the coast," Gollan said.

And when there are more small fish, there are more bigger fish -- like sharks -- too, he added.

"Sometimes they see a toe and they think it's another small fish they're going after," he said of the sharks.

There were 66 unprovoked shark attacks on humans worldwide last year, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

The U.S. had the most unprovoked attacks last year, with 32 confirmed incidents, according to the university.

Click here for tips on how to stay safe from sharks.

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