A teenager surfer was rushed to hospital on Monday after falling victim to a vicious shark attack off the coast of North Carolina – days after another teen lost her leg and several fingers in a similar incident just 140 miles away.
Austin Reed, 19, was catching waves off Ocean Isle Beach yesterday afternoon when suddenly he felt a burning surge of pain in his right foot, which was dangling beneath the surface of the water.
As he saw a red mist forming in the water below him, the teenager said he knew he’d fallen victim to a shark attack – but he couldn’t bring himself to look at the extent of his wounds.
‘I asked for [my friend]to look at my foot cause I was kind of scared to look at it — like I was scared that maybe the shark took a toe off or something,’ Reed told ABC News.
‘It’s pretty bad. And I looked at it and there was blood everywhere.’
First responders said they were able to control the ‘serious bleeding’ caused by the gaping wound at the scene, before transferring him to a hospital in Wilmington.
Reed was in a stable condition throughout, officials said, remaining conscious and speaking to staff throughout his 50 mile journey to the hospital.
‘It’s pretty bad. And I looked at it and there was blood everywhere,’ Austin told the Today Show from his hospital bed. ‘It got me good.’
The 19-year-old had been enjoying a sunny day at the beach with his friends and family before the frightening chain of events occurred at around 2:00pm.
His mother, who’s an ER nurse, said she was panic-stricken to see her son running out of the water with a trail of blood pooling behind him.
Reed’s grandmother described the injury as a ‘deep tooth bite’, likening its severity to a stab wound caused by a knife.
His brother, Ethan, said he thought his brother was playing a cruel prank on him when he called out to raise the alarm.
‘He said, “Yo, I got bit by a shark,” and Austin’s one to goof around a lot, so [our friend]Tyler thought he was just kidding. And then he looked at his foot and realized he wasn’t, so they got on Tyler’s board and he brought him in,’ Austin’s brother, Ethan Reed, told ABC 11.
‘Yeah, I guess he really nonchalantly was like, “Yeah, I got bit by a shark,” and everybody was like “What!?” and then they saw the blood and stuff.’
Upon his arrival at the hospital Reed instantly underwent emergency treatment, where doctors worked to close up 25 centimeters of cuts on his foot.
Though initially fearing he may lose function in his foot, Reed is expected to make a full recovery.
‘I think the shark grabbed him and when he pulled his foot and when he pulled it out, it looked like a knife had cut it across the left and right side of his foot,’ his dad, Wayne Reed said.
‘Looks like he’s gonna to have a cool story and a cool scar,’ Wayne continued to WECT.
‘Initially he was concerned, you know, he was going to, maybe perhaps, lose function of his foot or something like that. But when they got to the hospital and he realized he was just going to end up with stitches, his spirits were very good.’
Though frightened by the ordeal, Reed insists the attack won’t stop him surfing for too long.
‘I think I’m gonna be a pool person for a little bit,’ Reed said. ‘But I think I’ll definitely go back to the beach – it won’t stop me.’
The attack occurred nine days after high school student Page Winter, 17, lost part of her leg and several fingers to a shark while swimming off the coast of Fort Macon State Park, North Carolina – just three hours away from Monday’s attack.
Her father, Charlie Winter, punched the predatory fish five times until it released what was left of his daughter’s leg.
She underwent 14 hours of reconstructive surgery to repair her hand on Friday, but remained optimistic and feeling lucky to be alive.
‘I want to thank everyone for all of the support and encouragement that is really helping me stay positive while I’m getting better,’ Winter said in a statement Friday.
‘Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay… I will continue to stay positive and be thankful that it was not worse.’