A young girl in China was left with her hand bloody and mangled after a visit to an aquarium turned awry.
Wang Xiaoli, 6, had been viewing the sharks in an aquarium in a shopping mall in Guiyang City, Guizhou, on Tuesday afternoon (July 24) when her right hand was bitten, Chinese news site Guizhou People's Net reported on Thursday.
Blood started splattering onto the floor and the child was immediately taken to the Guizhou Provincial Orthopaedic Hospital.
According to the girl's mother, Xiaoli had been accompanied by her grandmother, aunt and other family members to the mall.
Dr Hong Xiao told local newspaper Guiyang Evening News that Xiaoli's right hand had nine bites from the shark, with the largest wound measuring 5cm. The index and little fingers were fractured, with extensive damage to nerves and tendons in the whole hand.
In a video posted by Chinese digital news platform Pear Video, Xiaoli's mother, known only as Ms Wang, can be heard denying any wrongdoing on her daughter's part.
"My child was only leaning on the glass, her hand was pressed to the glass. Her hand did not enter the water," she said.
A sales manager from the shopping mall, however, said that Xiaoli's hand had touched the water's surface. Large signs at the shopping mall warn visitors against reaching into the open-top shark aquarium.
Security footage posted by news sites including Chinese news site CCTV show bystanders rapidly backing away at the time of the attack, while the girl is shown struggling frantically and crouched over on the floor.
The point of the attack is not clear or has been blurred out making it difficult to see what exactly happened.
The security footage of the shark attack has since gone viral, including clips posted by CCTV as well as Taiwanese television network Chung T'ien Television.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.