ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCN) – A 17-year-old girl who was bitten by a shark on Sunday afternoon at Atlantic Beach was saved by her father, but her leg has had to be amputated, reports said.
Paige Winter was bitten by a shark around 12:20 p.m. at Fort Macon State Park, according to authorities.
A statement from hospital officials Sunday said it was “her heroic father who saved her life.”
EMS officials said she had severe injuries to her leg and hands when she suffered deep cuts to her leg, pelvis, and hand areas.
On Monday, Winter released a statement on her condition at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she is still being treated.
She said that her leg was amputated and that she had “damage to my hands,” but that she was expected to recover.
“I know I have a long road to recovery, which includes additional surgeries,” Winter wrote.
A Fort Macon State Park ranger said sharks were seen in the surf just after the incident and the bite was from a shark.
“She’s got a long way to go as far as recovery goes, but we all believe in her. We’re all getting behind her 100 percent,” said close family friend Brandon Bersch.
Bersch worked with Paige’s father as a firefighter/paramedic for 14 years. He said Paige’s father hasn’t left her side, so Bersch started a fundraiser to help offset medical costs.
“She is being positive. She’s relentless. After the incident, when she woke up from the surgery, there’s no animosity towards sharks or anything like that. She still thinks people need to respect sharks and respect marine life,” Bersch said.
Here is the full statement from Winter:
“I would like to thank everyone for reaching out and helping me the last 24 hours as a result of the shark attack that occurred at Fort Macon on June 2. Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay.
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.”
Vidant Medical Center also released a statement on Sunday:
“Sunday evening, Vidant Medical Center confirmed the victim as Paige Winter. Vidant Health can confirm that Paige Winter is at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C. recovering from a shark attack that occurred at approximately 12:20 p.m. on June 2, 2019, at Fort Macon.
She is in good condition and receiving excellent care. Her family expresses their appreciation for the first responders, the individuals on the beach who helped and her heroic father who saved her 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.”
Winter’s family and friends invite anyone who is able to help with her medical bills to donate to Winter’s GoFundMe page.