NC shark bite victim speaks for the first time since the attack

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Doctors say a teenager who was attacked by a shark nearly two weeks ago is alive today thanks to what happened before she got to the hospital.

A 17-year-old shark attack survivor is still positive as she speaks for the first time since the incident. / Source: Vidant Health

Paige Winter has undergone multiple surgeries at Vidant Medical Center since the attack June 2 at Fort Macon State Park.

Through a recorded video, the teen briefly spoke publicly for the first time. She said she wanted to record the video so that people would know she's going to be ok and will live a full life.

She described what it was like during the attack.

"When I was in that water I was like praying, I'm 17, I've got so much to do," said the teen.

Through it all, Paige is keeping a positive outlook.

"I think I can transform this into something good," said Paige. "It really helps to know that I'm not alone in this situation and there are other survivors of shark bites that have been sending me some love and that really helps."

And she doesn't want her experience to give sharks a bad reputation.

"Sharks are still good people and that's just kinda the truth," said the teenager.

The 17-year-old had her left leg amputated at the knee and extensive injuries to her hands.

Charlie Winter, her father, said the shark grabbed his daughter and took her underwater. He saw pink on the water and it was moving, so he dove in.

"I dove under and I grabbed her," said Charlie Winter. "I grabbed her with my left arm. It was a big shark. I immediately started hitting it. I hit it with everything I could and it let go."

Charlie Winter, who is a paramedic and firefighter, could see the damage to his daughter. He didn't know the shark was chasing them as he brought her to shore.

As they reached the shore, his daughter said "Dad", and he responded, "I got you."

Dr. Eric Toschlog, chief of trauma at Vidant, said there are no additional surgeries planned for the teenager and they anticipate her to be discharged to rehabilitation early next week.

The doctor said he has not seen a wound of this severity, ever. Toschlog believes a bull shark attacked Paige.

In addition to the amputation, doctors say Paige lost two fingers on her left hand. Dr. Richard Zeri said the shark's teeth were extremely sharp.
"It looks like there was a knife taken to it," the plastic surgeon said.

Doctors said today that Paige should complete physical therapy and rehabilitation within six to twelve months.

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