Paige Winter, a North Carolina native, will be making an appearance on National Geographic’s Shark Fest next week. She was attacked by a shark two years ago in Atlantic Beach at the start of the summer travel season.
Winter was at Fort Macon State Park when she said she felt a tugging at her leg while swimming in waist-deep water. At the time, she had no idea it was a shark, or that she would be fighting for her life.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I have a great family, just got a boyfriend and I have great friends.’ I have to see it through, and so, I just prayed, don’t let me die,” recalled Winter.
Winter, who was 17-years-old at the time of the attack, ended up having her left leg amputated above the knee and suffered extensive injuries to her hands.
“It was hard, but I was more focused on me and my recover, rather than, oh that was a shark,” she said.
Winters’ father rushed into the water to fight off the shark, and punched it over and over again in a bid to rescue his daughter.
“It was just an immediate dad thing,” Charlie Winter said during a press conference in 2019. “When I pulled her up, a shark came up with her, and it was a big shark. The head was, it was a bark shark. It kind of thrashed a little bit, and it had a big, just a big eye staring at you.”
Winter was taken to Carteret Health Care in Morehead City before being airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
Winter lost her ring finger and pinkie on her left hand, in addition to having her leg amputated.
“I had to have tendon repairs on four of these fingers. This thumb was untouched. My left hand – I can’t feel anything in it – and this finger doesn’t have any major arteries anymore. This thumb was bitten twice, but it’s till there and this whole section of my hand is a piece of my back,” Winters described about her hands after the attack.
After being released from the hospital, Winter underwent physical therapy.
Now, she said she’s reached a place in her life where she’s at peace with the attack.
She wants to use her experience to better the stigma around sharks.
“I still prefer the pool as you can probably image,” said Winters, “but I have gone to that beach with my dad and we did go into the water for a second and it was really nice.”
The Shark Fest episode Winters will be featured on airs Monday on National Geographic.
Winters said the episode will focus on shark education.
She added that she’s hoping to go back to school and study marine biology.
Author: Sydney Franklin
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