A North Carolina teenager who survived a brutal shark attack earlier this month is speaking out for the very first time about the terrifying experience.
Paige Winter was swimming in waist-deep waters off the coast of North Carolina on June 2, when she became the victim of a vicious shark attack that claimed two of her fingers and her left leg.
Still, the 17-year-old says things could have been much worse.
“I was aware from the beginning, nothing’s gonna be the same ever again. Like, I’m still Paigey. Just a little different,” Winter told “Good Morning America.” “I got some pieces of the puzzle missing. But it’s OK. … I’d rather have to go through this tough journey than, like, not being able to use my hands. Not being able to, like, walk.”
It all started when Winter was playing in the water with her brother and sister. They were pretending to be mermaids and soaking up the sun when something began to pull her under the water.
At first, she thought it was one of her siblings grabbing her leg as a joke. But before long she began to notice a weird “snapping” sensation — something Winter says she’ll never forget.
“I’m like, ‘Is this, like, a snapping turtle? Like, what’s happening?'” she recalled. “Then it just starts. Like a dog [when] they get a rope and you grab the other rope and they just start going — like with their whole body.”