Father Repeatedly 'Punches Shark' To Save Daughter
Paige Winter lost her left leg above the knee and several fingers but is alive thanks to her quick-thinking father.
The teenager, 17, was attacked at Fort Macon State Park, North Carolina, on Sunday.
Her father, a marine, firefighter and paramedic, immediately rushed into the water to save her life, landing five quick punches on the animal's nose, forcing it to release its hold.
Paige was airlifted to hospital with deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic and hand areas and has since undergone surgery.
“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," Paige said in a statement.
"Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be OK."
The teen's grandmother, Janet Winter, posted about the incident on Facebook, confirming the news.
"Thank God our son was with her, he said he punched the shark in the face 5 times before it let go. Wish we could be with them," she wrote.
Despite the attack, Paige remains "an unwavering advocate for the marine life and the animals who live in the water," Vidant Medical Centre -- where she is being treated -- said in a statement, according to WCTI.
"She wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety."
With the attack comes the hefty medical bills, so her family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs, which has raised more than US$16,600 within just 24 hours.
"Paige is out of surgery and awake, she’s still pretty groggy but cracking jokes," her mother Marcy posted on the donation page. "She wants everyone to know that sharks are still good people."
Punching a shark has become a common mitigation technique ever since footage emerged of Australian surf star Mick Fanning himself being attacked during the J-Bay Open in 2015.
Two years later British doctor Charlie Fry, 25, escaped serious injury after being knocked off of his board while surfing on the NSW Central Coast.
“When it happened, I was like, ‘just do what Mick did, just punch it in the nose’,” he said. “If you are watching or listening, Mick, I owe you a beer. Thank you very much.”
A similar incident happened in 2018.
Bodysurfer Paul Kenny, escaped the jaws of a shark near Newcastle, by punching it in the nose.
"The first thing that came to his mind was Mick Fanning, so he punched the shark," a witness said at the time.
While a champion body border channelled Fanning while he was attacked in the surf near Mandurah, WA, also in 2018.
So there you go, the 'Mick Fanning' still exists and it's now saving lives worldwide.