updated 7/1/2005 11:48:50 PM ET 2005-07-02T03:48:50

A shark bit an Austrian tourist on the ankle Friday while he stood in chest-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, the state's third shark attack in a week.

Armin Trojer, 19, of Baden, Austria, was airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Fort Myers, where he was in fair condition, hospital spokeswoman Pat Dolce said. He underwent surgery Friday evening to repair some ligaments, tendons and blood vessels on his right ankle.

"It is a confirmed shark attack," Lee County sheriff's spokeswoman Ileana LiMarzi said. "Someone else in the water saw a shark."

Paramedics also indicated the wound was consistent with a shark bite, she said. The man was bitten near the lighthouse at Gasparilla Island Beach.

Beach remained open
"We are out there right now letting people know, notifying people on the beach about what happened," LiMarzi said. The beach was not closed to swimmers as no other sharks were spotted during helicopter flights over the area.

Two other young people have been bitten since Saturday along Florida's Gulf Coast. Friday's incident was about 280 miles from an attack Monday on a 16-year-old Tennessee boy who lost his leg and about 350 miles from the spot where a 14-year-old Louisiana girl was killed Saturday.

Experts believed bull sharks attacked both teens in the Florida Panhandle. The type of shark involved in Friday's attack was not immediately determined.

Florida averaged more than 30 shark attacks a year from 2000 to 2003, but there were only 12 attacks off the state's coast last year, said George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida.

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