Girl survives Florida shark attack after vacationing doctor saw blood in water and reacted

Call it luck, being in the right place at the right time or divine intervention, but a teenage girl bitten by a shark is alive today because a doctor saw blood in the water.

Dr. Ryan Forbess, along with his doctor buddy, EMTs and nurses, happened to be enjoying family time on a beach along the Florida panhandle when a shark bit a girl not far from his own children.

“My friend Dr. (Mohammed) Ali and I vacation together yearly at 30 Rosemary Beach, so I was boogie boarding with my son, who was boarding with his daughter. Then, all of a sudden, we heard a lot of commotion to the left of us while we were in the water,” Forbess told WBRC. 

Both doctors fled the water but looked back, saw blood and instinctively reacted. 


“They pulled the girl out onto the beach, and then we were able to start working on getting the blood stopped, and we were able to get tourniquets to secure her airway,” Forbess told WBRC. 

“She was going in and out of consciousness. She was up talking, but she was in and out.”


As the two doctors tended to the teenager at the bloody scene, other medical professionals on the beach ran to help. 

Ali, who is an interventional radiologist, found the wounds to stop the bleeding until on-call first responders arrived at Rosemary Beach in Florida and airlifted the girl to a hospital, according to WBRC. 

Dr. Ryan Forbess was honored by his hometown or Orange Beach, Alabama, for his "heroic" actions saving a teenager who was bitten by a shark while he was vacationing in Florida.
Honor given to Dr. Ryan Forbess by the his hometown of Orange Beach, Alabama.

The girl, later identified as 15-year-old Lulu Gribbin, lost her left hand in the attack, and doctors had to amputate her right leg. 

However, she survived. Gribbin is still in the hospital, recovering from what are still considered life-threatening injuries as her hometown of Mountain Brook, Alabama, rallied to support their own.


Gribbin was one of three victims bitten by a shark last week within a 90-minute span along a four-mile stretch of beaches in Walton County, Florida. 

Another teenager suffered a flesh wound to her foot. A 45-year-old woman suffered “significant trauma” to her stomach, according to authorities, and her left arm was amputated. 

She remains in critical condition. 

A great white shark swims

Forbess was honored on Tuesday by Orange Beach’s mayor for his heroic actions. 

Mayor Tony Kennon said Forbess is “truly our local hero.”

The certificate of recognition given to Forbess says, in part, that the girl has a long road to recovery, but she is “healing, thanks to the actions of Dr. Forbess, Dr. Ali and the others.”

“Whereas, while on his annual family vacation at Rosemary Beach, Florida, Dr. Forbess and his best friend Dr. Mohammed Ali were in the Gulf of Mexico with their children on Friday, June 7th when nearby a teenage girl suffered life-threatening injuries from a shark attack,” the honor says. 

“Whereas, seeing the severity of the situation, both doctors as well as other medical professionals on vacation, including an EMT and ER nurse, sprang into action and put their expertise to work to save the young woman’s life…”


Leave A Reply

© 2024 Time Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.