A teenage girl bitten by a shark in North Carolina is resting after having surgery on Tuesday, June 4, but her family says her road to recovery is long.
“We are pleased to share that Paige is resting well after returning to the operating room at Vidant Medical Center on June 4, 2019. While we understand she will require additional operations, our Paige is a fighter. Her courageous spirit continues to be a beacon of light for all of us,” the family of Paige Winter said in a statement.
The 17-year-old was attacked by a shark at Fort Macon State Park near Atlantic Beach on Sunday. Both of her hands were significantly damaged, and her left leg had to be amputated above the knee, according to Eric Toschlog, Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Vidant Medical Center.
She was in good condition on Tuesday, Toschlog said, adding that the teen will need additional operations for her hand injuries.
Winter released a statement on her progress on Monday.
“Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay,” the statement said.
“Thank you to the care team at Vidant Medical Center who is continuing to provide excellent care. 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,” Winter said.
Winter was swimming at the beach around 12:20 p.m. when she was bitten, park ranger Paul Terry told CNN affiliate WCTI.
— NewsChannel 12 (@wcti12) June 5, 2019
According to a statement, Vidant sent to the station, the incident has not deterred Winter from her support for marine life.
“Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Paige is an unwavering advocate for 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 statement said.
There were no other reports of shark attacks in the area over the weekend, according to Atlantic Beach Deputy Fire Chief Casey Arthur said.
However, Winter’s injuries came a week after a 65-year-old man died in a shark attack while swimming off the coast of Maui in Hawaii.
Saved By Dad’s Quick Actions
Father Charlie Winter’s is a marine, firefighter, and paramedic, according to a fundraising campaign for the teen on GoFundMe. He punched the shark five times on the nose forcing it to give up its hold on the girl.
Winter’s grandmother, Janet Winter, wrote on Facebook how Winter was saved by her dad’s quick actions. “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.
A witness described the moment when Winter got out of the sea after the attack. “All of a sudden everyone started screaming, and I looked to my left and they were rushing towards this little girl. She looked little but she’s actually 17,” Lacy Whorton told WRAL.
“And it looked like she was belly crawling on the beach and officials were running towards her and whistles were blowing and everyone was screaming and they quickly got everybody out of the water,” she said.
“Her family expresses their appreciation for the first responders, the individuals on the beach who helped, and her heroic father who saved her life,” said Vidant Medical Center.
The GoFundMe page has raised over $45,000 for Winter. “No donation is too small and the funds will be used to assist in the many surgeries, physical therapy, prosthetics, recovery process, and Charlie’s missed days from work,” said the appeal.
An updated message on GoFundMe said: “Per Marcy Winter (Paige’s Mom) 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.”
Donors on the fundraising platform appreciated Winter’s never-die spirit. “Your attitude when faced with adversity is inspiring. Wishing you a speedy recovery,” said Lani Bouchacourt.
“You are strong, you are in my prayers,” said Vickie Strickland.
Last year a 14-year-old surfer was attacked by a shark at the same beach. The boy was bitten twice on his right leg on Aug. 19, 2018, reported WRAL.
Epoch Times reporter Venus Upadhayaya contributed to this article.