North Carolina shark attack victim: ‘I didn’t see it coming’

WILMINGTON, N.C. — One of two teens injured in a weekend shark attack off the coast of North Carolina said he had little warning of what was to come.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Hunter Treschl said from his bed at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.

“I was just in about waist-deep water, playing with my cousin … and felt this kind of hit on my left leg … like it was a big fish coming near you or something,” the 16-year-old said in a series of videos released by the hospital.

“Then it just kind of hit my arm. That was the first I saw it, when it was biting up my left arm.”

Two victims

Hunter was one of two teens who lost their arms in the waters off Oak Island on Sunday. His arm was amputated below the shoulder.

Kiersten Yow, 12, of Archdale, was the first swimmer attacked. She lost her arm at the elbow. The shark also bit her leg.

The two attacks took place about 90 minutes apart.

Kiersten’s parents, Brian and Laurie Yow, said in a statement that their daughter was transferred from New Hanover to N.C. Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill on Monday, where”she remains in stable condition and is receiving excellent care.”

Her road to recovery will be long and will include surgeries and rehabilitation, they said, “but her doctors at (the University of North Carolina) expect she will keep her leg and for that we are grateful.”

Attacks are rare

To have two shark attacks so close together is extremely rare, one expert said.

“Having a series of injuries so close to each other in time and space makes this unusual,” said George Burgess, an ichthyologist and fisheries biologist with the Florida Museum of Natural History. “It might suggest a single shark has been involved.”

Only three times in the four decades that he’s been studying sharks has Burgess seen attacks happen “so closely in time and space,” he said. The other incidents occurred in Egypt and Florida.

Still Burgess said, shark attacks are unusual. Last year saw 72 attacks worldwide, only three of them were fatal. In a typical year, about four or five people are bitten by sharks on North Carolina beaches.

“Fight and live a normal life”

Hunter said he was working to stay positive.

“I’ve lost my arm obviously, so I have kind of two options,” he said. “I can try to live my life the way I was and make an effort to do that even though I don’t have an arm or I can kind of just let this be completely debilitating and bring my life down and ruin it.”

Hunter said he chooses to “fight and live a normal life” despite losing his arm.

Messages of support have helped maintain his positive outlook.

“I’ve gotten a massive amount of messages from people all over who’ve wished me well,” he said.

Hunter said he can’t wait to get back home to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to see his friends.

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