'Really rare': Florida teen bitten by shark during lifeguard camp says there's nothing 'to be scared of'

The teenager who was bitten by a shark on Monday in Ponce Inlet is speaking to FOX 35 News. 

Dempsey Manhart, 14, was at a lifeguard training camp in Ponce Inlet on Monday. During a lifeguard training camp drill, he dove into the water and was bitten by a shark.  

4 shark bites in 6 days bolster Volusia County's status as 'shark bite capital of the world'

"I dove onto it, and I hit the shark," said Manhart. "I hit it with my hands, and then I stood up, and it spun around and was like underneath my legs. And I think it bit me then when it was wrapped around my feet."

At first, the teenager thought he had hit another person, only to quickly realize it was a shark. 

"When it came under my feet, I was like hitting it, and then it swam away. Then that's when I saw the shark," said Manhart. 

The shark bit him in his calf, and he needed 17 stitches, but the teenager is otherwise OK and excited to get back to about lifeguard training camp on Tuesday, even though he can’t get in the water just yet. The teen says he’s not worried about getting back in the ocean. 

"Because I think that it's something really rare that can happen. And if it's happened once, I doubt it's going to happen again. So I don't think there's really anything to be scared of," said Manhart. 

The teenager says his inspiration comes from his father, who is a deputy, lifeguard, and EMT who has been saving people on Volusia County beaches for decades. 

Dempsey is one of three people bitten by a shark in the past week. 

Connor Baker was playing football in knee-high water at New Smyrna Beach when a shark bit his foot while he was on vacation in Florida on the Fourth of July. 

"All of a sudden, I felt something stab the top and bottom of my foot," Baker said. "My first instinct was I yanked my foot out, and then just kind of took off."


Baker was rushed to the hospital as he ruptured four tendons and needed surgery. The surgeons at Halifax Health saved his foot. He is now home and recovering but won’t be able to walk for 6–8 weeks. However, with physical therapy following that, he should return to walking normally. 

"I feel lucky that I should be able to be back to normal at some point, maybe not for a while, but better than never being back to normal," he said. 

A third person was also bitten on Friday in New Smyrna Beach. A 26-year-old man from Sarasota was bitten on his left foot by a shark while he was in the water.