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Fish mauls girl's leg in Minnesota lake

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 20:14:03-04

DULUTH, MN (KBJR/CNN) -  A 10-year-old Minnesota girl is recovering after getting bit by a fish while swimming in a lake. "It was just a quick bam,” Maren Kesselhon said on Thursday. 

That's how the girl describes the feeling on Wednesday afternoon in the waters of Island Lake. Maren was being pulled on a paddle board behind a boat driven by her father. While on the paddle board, Maren decided to take a quick dip. 

"I just jumped in because it was hot," she said.  Seconds later she was attacked by the fish. "I felt movement in the water and then I felt my whole foot in its mouth," she said. 

Maren didn’t know that she would have gashes on her foot and leg when she pulled it out.  "I was screaming, I was so terrified," she said.

She was taken to the emergency room at Saint Mary's Essentia Hospital where she had to be treated for 25 bites. Maren had to be sedated before receiving nine stitches and repairing a tendon.

"It was right up to about here, and then when I tugged it slid down and it made these huge gash marks," she said while pointing to her damaged leg.

Maren's dad, Ryan, said at first they and others thought it could have been an otter that did the damage, later to find out it was a fish, possibly a muskie.

"The doctor's examination of the cuts, they were so clean, so many, all in the same direction, it had to be a big fish,” he said.

For now, Maren has to use crutches to get around. The only thing on her agenda is relaxing the rest of the summer until she's able to walk again.

As for her father, he has other plans, especially for the fish.  "I will get it. I will find it and hang it on my wall when it's all done,” he said.

This is the second animal attack on Island Lake in recent years. In 2012, a woman was bit 25 times by an otter. 

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