(NBC News) A North Carolina teen who lost her leg on June 2 after a shark attack in Fort Macon spoke publicly about her ordeal for the first time Friday.
Paige Winter wants the world to know the shark may have taken her leg, but it didn’t take her determination or spirit.
“I’m going to be able to walk, going to be able to write, going to be able to do just about everything, same old Paigee,” she said during a press conference at the Greenville hospital, where she’s been recovering since the attack.
Her father, Charlie Winter, also spoke about the terrifying encounter the pair had with a shark, and his efforts to save his daughter.
“It was just an immediate ‘dad’ thing, I went straight to where the pink was and I dove under and I grabbed her,” he said. “When I pulled her up, a shark came up with her, and it was a big shark. I hit it with everything I could, and it let go.”
Winter said once they reached shore, he took in what he feared could be his last minutes with his daughter.
“I listened to every word she said. Every movement of her lip,” he said. “I just couldn’t stop saying ‘I love you’.”
Paige was transported to a medical helicopter and then flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. One of her legs was amputated, and she has injuries on her hands.
In a statement to NBC News, Vidant Health said, “Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Paige is an unwavering advocate for the marine life and the animals who live in the water,” adding that Paige “wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.”