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Badass 17-Year-Old Punches a Shark and Lives to Tell the Tale

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If nothing else, Caitlyn Taylor now has a story she can tell for the rest of her life. The 17-year-old Louisville teenager vacationing in sunny Destin, Florida nearly fell prey to a brutal shark attack on Sunday.

"Beyond lucky to be alive and well and thank you to everyone for the support and wishes and I'm going to be okay, love you guys," she tweeted on April 2, along with brutal-looking photos of bites on her legs.

Taylor was wading in waist-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico while in town for a softball tournament with her team. According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department, after a 5-foot shark had grabbed hold of her leg in its jaws, she punched it back. The shark bit her at around 3:39 p.m.

“She was hitting it with her hand and then it released," said Michele Nicholson, an Okaloosa County Sheriff spokesperson.

Upon learning that she'd been the victim of a shark attack after she shared the experience on Twitter, Taylor's friends and family immediately showered her with support. Her sister Paige tweeted: "It was such a traumatizing event out there and I'm so lucky to still have my sister who is so strong and a such a fighter."

"Glad that you are okay, but this is officially the most badass story anyone could ever have in their life," one Twitter user Ryan Boyle replied. Boyle is correct, of course, and other friends of hers have also shared positive photos of her recovery.

By all accounts this teen sounds a real trooper. Thrillist has reached out to Taylor to ask what it's like to punch a shark and live to tell the tale, and we'll happily update this story with her response if she gets back to us.

h/t The Louisville Courier-Journal

Eric Vilas-Boas is a writer and editor at Thrillist. Follow him @e_vb_.