17-year-old girl has leg amputated after 'horrific shark attack' at North Carolina beach
After surviving a "horrific shark attack" at a North Carolina beach on Sunday, a 17-year-old girl lost a leg and some fingers, officials say. Vidant Medical Center identified the victim as Paige Winter of New Born, and reported that she is "in good condition and receiving excellent care."
Eyewitness Lacy Whorton, told NBC News that "everybody started screaming" when the attack happened, and lifeguards quickly pulled Winter from the water. Paige's father, Charlie, heroically joined the rescue effort, according to her grandmother, Janet Winter. "Thank God our son was with her he said he punched the shark in the face 5 times before it let go," she wrote on Facebook.
The incident occurred at Atlantic Beach, a town on a barrier island about 44 miles east of Jacksonville. Whorton said she visits the beach regularly and "has never seen anything like this." Police responded to the incident at around noon and discovered Winter had "deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas," according to a spokesperson for the Atlantic Beach Fire Department.
Paige was airlifted to Vidant Medical in Greenville to receive treatment. Her family created GoFundMe page to raise money for "surgeries, physical therapy, prosthetics, recovery process, and Charlie’s missed days from work." In the description, they state that "due to the severity of the attack, amputation of [Paige's] left leg above the knee was inevitable." The campaign has raised $8,613 of a $5,000 goal, as of this writing.
The family confirmed that Paige lost some fingers and her left leg was amputated from above the knee. But despite the brutal, life-changing attack, she is in good spirits and still retains love for all marine life. "Per Marcy Winter (Paige’s Mom) Paige is out of surgery and awake, she’s still pretty groggy but cracking jokes,” reads a GoFundMe page update. "She wants everyone to know that Sharks are still good people."
"Her family expresses their appreciation for the first responders, the individuals on the beach who helped and her heroic father who saved her life," the family said in an official statement, per ABC News. "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."