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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Heroic Firefighter Father Punches Shark 5 Times to Save 17-Year-Old Daughter’s Life

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A 17-year-old teenager is responding with optimism and courage after surviving a traumatic shark attack at Fort Macon State Park in North Carolina.

According to Today, it was on June 2 that Paige Winter, 17, was standing in waist-deep water alongside her father, Charlie Winter, enjoying an afternoon at the beach.

In a flash, Paige was suddenly yanked down under the water.

Her father, Charlie Winter, realized Paige was being attacked by a bull shark and launched an all-out fight of his own to save his daughter’s life, according to Inside Edition.

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Winter, a firefighter and paramedic with City of Havelock Fire and Rescue, punched the shark five times until it finally relented, according to Inside Edition.

As Winter carried his daughter out of the waves and onto the shore, he applied pressure to her severely damaged left leg.

“He remained calm the entire time,” family friend Brandon Bersch told TODAY. “Paige is alive today because of her father.”

At the hospital, Paige had her left leg amputated above the knee and lost several fingers. She faces more surgeries and a long road of recovery and physical therapy ahead.

But the teen said she is not bitter about what happened and wants people to know she does not hate sharks and still has a love for marine life.

“Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Paige is an unwavering advocate for the marine life and the animals who live in the water,” her family stated on their GoFundMe campaign. “She wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.”

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Paige made a brave statement of her own, acknowledging her new reality with wisdom beyond her years.

“Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay,” her GoFundMe page read. “I know I have a long road to recovery, which includes additional surgeries. I will continue to stay positive and be thankful that it was not worse.”

According to Joe Yaiullo, curator and co-founder at the Long Island Aquarium, Winter’s quick response was spot-on when it comes to surviving a shark attack.

“Paige’s dad did exactly what you should do,” Yaiullo told Inside Edition. “You are in the fight for your life. You want to start throwing punches, whatever you can, especially in the head region.”

On June 4, just two days after the attack, Paige’s family took to the GoFundMe campaign to update donors on Paige’s recovery.

“While we understand she will require additional operations, our Paige is a fighter. Her courageous spirit continues to be a beacon of light for all of us,” they wrote. “As we continue on this journey, please know we appreciate the prayers, love and support we have received from across the world. We can’t wait for Paige to show you how bright her star shines.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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Lifestyle & Human Interest