ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCN) — Officials in Atlantic Beach say they responded to an animal bite on Sunday at Fort Macon State Park.
Just after noon, a 17-year-old girl was bitten while swimming at the beach.
EMS officials said she had severe injuries to her leg and hands from a marine animal bite.
A Fort Macon State Park ranger said sharks were seen in the surf just after the incident and the bite was from a shark.
“It had to be a shark — it was too big to be a fish,” Park Ranger Paul Terry told CBS 17.
Terry also said that at least two sharks could be seen swimming in the water just after the incident.
Atlantic Beach Fire Department Paramedics immediately transported the girl to an awaiting East Care Helicopter at Carteret Health Care where she was flown to Vidant Medical Center.
The patient sustained deep cuts to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas.
Atlantic Beach Fire Department cannot confirm what type of marine life was involved until further information is received from specialists and marine biologists, officials said.
Vidant later released a statement about the incident:
“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 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.”
Winter’s family and friends invite anyone who is able to help with her medical bills to donate to Winter’s GoFundMe page.
According to the GoFundMe, “Due to the severity of the attack, amputation of the left leg above the knee was inevitable.”
The post goes on to say that Winter is out of surgery, cracking jokes and that “she wants everyone to know that sharks are still good people.”
— WNCT contributed to this report
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