A teenager survived a shark attack off a North Carolina beach Sunday, but doctors had to amputate her left leg, according to the family.
Paige Winter, 17, was in the ocean off Fort Macon State Park when she was attacked by a shark just after noon Sunday, according to a statement from Vidant Medical Center.
“Due to the severity of the attack, amputation of the left leg above the knee was inevitable,” Jenny Garcia said on a GoFundMe set up after the attack.
“Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay,” Winter said in a statement released by the hospital.
“I know I have a long road to recovery, which includes additional surgeries. I will continue to stay positive and be thankful that it was not worse,” she said.
Monday morning, Winter’s mom Marcy Goodrum Winter said on Facebook, “Paige is out of surgery and awake, she’s still pretty groggy but cracking jokes. She wants everyone to know that sharks are still good people.”
Paige Winter will still need multiple surgeries, according to family friend Brandon Bersch, speaking for her father Charlie Winter.
Bersch described Paige Winter as strong, just like her firefighter father. “She was cracking jokes as soon as she woke up” from surgery, Bersch said.
Winter is a New Bern native and junior at New Bern High School, Bersch said.
When paramedics got to the beach, the teen had “sustained deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas,” the Atlantic Beach Fire Department said Sunday. First responders airlifted her to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, according to a press release.
Winter is in good condition, the hospital said in a statement.
“Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Paige is an unwavering advocate for the marine life and the animals who live in the water. She wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety,” the hospital’s statement said.
The hospital said the teen’s father saved her life, calling him “heroic” but did not provide other details.
“Charlie, Paige’s father, Marine, Firefighter, and Paramedic has served his Country and his community for the last 20 years,” according to the GoFundMe.
Lacy Whorton, who saw the attack, said “everybody started screaming” after a shark bit Winter, according to NBC News, but lifeguards were able to pull her from the water quickly.
The GoFundMe, set up by Garcia and Bersch for the family, has raised more than $7,000 as of noon Monday.
“You can imagine Charlie is going to be out of work for a while caring for his daughter,” Bersch said.