Paige Winter was attacked by a shark on June 2 at Atlantic Beach

By Jason Duaine Hahn
June 17, 2019 03:10 PM

A teen girl, who had her leg amputated after she was attacked by a shark in waist-deep water earlier this month, is speaking out about her hero dad who fought the animal and saved her life.

“When I was in that water, I was like praying, like I’m 17, and I got so much to do and it’s true, I got a lot to do,” Paige Winter of North Carolina said in a video message, days after she was attacked by a shark while enjoying an afternoon in the water at Atlantic Beach on June 2. “I think with this situation I can transform it into something that’s not like, ‘Oh how tragic.’ ”

As the shark bit into her left leg, Paige’s firefighter father, Charlie Winter, rushed to the rescue and delivered several punches to the animal before it finally let go, according to WNCT.

Paige lost two fingers and suffered “deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas,” an Atlantic Beach Fire Department spokesperson told PEOPLE in a statement at the time, and she would later have her left leg amputated above the knee after being airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

During a press conference on Friday, Charlie said he quickly took action when he noticed the water turning pink from his daughter’s blood.

“Immediate dad thing — went straight to where the pink was and I dove under and I grabbed her,” he recalled.

Paige Winter

“It kind of thrashed a little bit, [and it’s] big eye [was] just staring at you,” Charlie said of the shark, according to ABC.

As time was the essence, Charlie did everything he could to get the shark to release its grasp.

“I immediately just started to hit it,” Charlie said. “I hit it with everything I could and it let go.”

After bringing his bleeding daughter to the shore, Charlie applied a tourniquet to Paige’s leg, which likely saved her life.

Paige and Charlie Winter

Despite the life-changing injuries she suffered, Paige still thinks sharks are “so good” and “so cool.”

With no more surgeries scheduled, Paige will be discharged from the hospital and taken to a rehab center soon to work on hand and leg therapy.

“I want people to see that I’m all right,” Paige said. “I’ll still be able to do all the stuff they can do like be able to walk and write be able to do just like everything same old Paige.”