17-Year-Old Shark Attack Victim Leaves Hospital Four Weeks After Her Leg Was Amputated

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 5, 2019US News
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17-Year-Old Shark Attack Victim Leaves Hospital Four Weeks After Her Leg Was Amputated
Paige Winter after being released from the hospital. (City of Havelock Fire - Rescue Department)

A 17-year-old girl who was attacked by a shark in North Carolina on June 2 has left the hospital about one month after doctors amputated her left leg at the thigh level.

Paige Winter was swimming near Fort Macon State Park when the shark pulled her under the water. Winter’s father, Charlie Winter, famously punched the shark, prompting it to swim away.

Paige left the hospital on July 4, reported WTVD. Friends threw her a party at the restaurant in New Bern where she worked before being attacked.

She said the support from loved ones helped her stay optimistic.

“It fuels me, you know? It makes me more positive and upbeat and it moves me forward in my healing,” Paige said.

Pictures shared by the city of Havelock’s Fire Rescue Department showed Paige using a walker, with heavily bandaged hands, surrounded by family and friends.

“I’m not going to say that it was worth it, but I am going to say that I am beyond happy and this is like almost surreal to be here with everybody again,” the teen said at the party, reported WCTI. “If I’m already this far and I can already walk like this, there’s no telling how fast this is going to go for me.”

Paige said in an interview with “Good Morning America” in mid-June that she was thankful for still being able to walk and use her hands.

“I was aware from the beginning, nothing’s gonna be the same ever again. Like, I’m still Paigey. Just a little different,” she said. “I got some pieces of the puzzle missing. But it’s OK. … I’d rather have to go through this tough journey than, like, not being able to use my hands. Not being able to, like, walk.”

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Charlie Winter gave supporters an update on a GoFundMe fundraising page on July 3.

“Anais will help me cook and make jokes again, Paige is going to dance and walk again, and I am still going to make a fool of myself in front of them just to get them to smile when they haven’t even realized that they needed to,” he wrote. Anais is Paige’s sister.

“Another special shout out to Anais. You have stepped up and grown more in the last month than the 15 years you have behind you…and again I couldn’t be prouder of you. If nothing else you’ve shown what love two sisters can have for each other and it leaves me speechless of both of you,” Charlie added.

shark victim still likes sharks
Paige Winter was attacked by a shark in North Carolina on June 2, 2019. (Prayers For Paige/GoFundMe)

Shark Attack

Friends and family recalled what happened in the days after Paige was rushed to the hospital.

“They were standing in waist-deep water and chatting and then Paige suddenly got pulled under,” family friend Brandon Bersch told Today. “As soon as Charlie realized what was happening, he jumped into action and began striking the shark on the nose. Charlie wouldn’t stop until it released his little girl. He lives for his children.”

Paige told Good Morning America: “‘I’m like, ‘Is this, like, a snapping turtle? Like, what’s happening?’ she recalled. Then it just starts. Like a dog [when] they get a rope and you grab the other rope and they just start going—like with their whole body. I remember giving up for a second, and then I just start like laying there … and then I was like, ‘no, wait a minute, I can’t do that. Like, that’s not an option!'”

Charlie said at a press conference at Vidant Medical Care, which treated Paige, that he grabbed his daughter and pulled her up.

“And when I pulled her up, a shark came up with her and it was a big shark. I immediately started to hit it. … It could have been 10 (times), it could have been three. I don’t know, I wasn’t keeping track. But I know I was hitting it, and I hit it with everything I could and it let go,” he said.

Paige’s grandmother, Janet Winter, said in a Facebook post, which appears to have since been deleted, that Paige was saved by her dad. “Thank God our son was with her he said he punched the shark in the face 5 times before it let go. Wish we could be with them,” she wrote in response to a comment.

She said that Paige might need a hand transplant in the future, but that has not transpired as of yet.

In a statement released by Vidant, the hospital said that the teen was “in good condition.”

“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,” it stated.

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