Update, 9 a.m. June 7 - The North Carolina teenager who lost her left leg in a shark attack is getting a prosthetic leg free of charge, the Associated Press reports.
East Carolina Brace & Limb Co. says on its Facebook page that all of Paige Winter’s prosthetic and orthotic needs will be free of charge.
Ms. Winter was attacked by the shark last weekend at Fort Macon State Park at Atlantic Beach. She said while she has extensive injuries, including damage to her hands, “I will be okay.” She is recovering in the hospital and said she will require more surgeries.
(Original Article) ATLANTIC BEACH — A teenage girl is recovering from severe injuries after being bitten Sunday in the waters off Fort Macon State Park by what officials report was a shark.
Atlantic Beach Fire Department officials said Sunday afternoon that a call to the Fort Macon bathhouse came in around 12:19 p.m. for a “marine animal bite.”
Fort Macon Superintendent Randy Newman said in an interview with the News-Times Monday that the girl, later identified by Vidant Health in Greenville as 17-year-old Paige Winter, had been bitten by a marine animal while swimming in the ocean waters off Fort Macon.
“I wasn’t there for the incident,” Mr. Newman said, “but when I got there, there were sharks swimming in the breakers.”
Mr. Newman said this is the first reported shark bite at Fort Macon this year and that this sort of incident is uncommon for Fort Macon.
“Even though we have sharks in the area, we rarely have anyone bitten,” Mr. Newman said.
He said Paige’s father, an EMT, and several other beachgoers, who were also EMTs, were with her at the time of the incident and came to her aid.
“We were lucky there were medically trained visitors to get her stable,” Mr. Newman said. “We closed the beach for the rest of the day (Sunday) as a precaution.”
One beachgoer told the News-Times they were turned away from the park and directed instead to Atlantic Beach’s public accesses.
ABFD paramedics transported the teen to Carteret Health Care, where she was flown by helicopter to Vidant Health in Greenville.
According to the ABFD release, the victim “sustained deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic and hand areas.”
Later Sunday, Vidant identified Paige in a statement, the Associated Press reports. According to the statement, the teen was in “good condition” as of Sunday.
Tuesday, in a release from the hospital, she said she had “an amputated leg and damage to my hands.”
“Although I have extensive injuries…I will be okay,” Paige said. “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.”
She also thanked the care team at Vidant, “who is continuing to provide excellent care.”
“I know I have a long road to recovery, which includes additional surgeries,” she said. “I will continue to stay positive and be thankful that it was not worse.”
Vidant described Paige as an advocate for marine life and the hospital also said she “wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.”
Fort Macon’s public beach reopened Monday.
One local aquarist with the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores emphasized to the News-Times Tuesday the chances of a shark bite are very small.
N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores aquarist Jeff McBane said the chances of being bitten by a shark while in the water are lower than being in a car accident or drowning.
“Most of the time when this happens, it’s a mistake,” Mr. McBane said. “Don’t let this (incident) ruin your vacation.”
To minimize the already-low chances of being bitten by a shark, Mr. McBane advises swimmers and beachgoers to avoid going in the water during low-light conditions.
“It’s when these animals are most active,” he said. Mr. McBane also advised staying in shallow water.
Mr. Newman seemed to agree with Mr. McBane that incidents of shark bites are a rarity and beachgoers and swimmers simply should recognize sharks may be present in ocean waters.
“There are sharks in the ocean,” Mr. Newman said, “so you have to be prepared.”
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.
ATLANTIC BEACH — After reports of shark activity near Fort Macon State Park, the Atlantic Beach Fire Department confirms a 17-year-old girl is being treated for severe injuries to her legs and hands from a “marine animal bite.”
In a release Sunday afternoon, ABFD officials said the call to the Fort Macon bathhouse came in around 12:19 p.m.
Paramedics transported the victim to Carteret Health Care, where she was flown by helicopter to Vidant Health in Greenville.
“The patient sustained deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas. ABFD cannot confirm what type of marine life was involved until further information is received from specialists and marine biologists," officials said in the release.
This is a developing report.