INJURED – 8 July 2006 — Debordieu, Georgetown County, South Carolina, US — surfer attacked
The attack took place after 11am local time on Saturday 8 July.
Reports differ on the type of shark believed responsible for the attack. One quotes Caelin as saying it was a Bull shark that bit her. Another report quotes her as saying it was a 5-6 foot spinner shark.
Caelin told WIS 10 TV she was surifng on her Boogie board about 25 feet from the beach.
“A group of bait fish had swum in around me, and I hadn’t seen them, and a bunch of sharks did too, a pack. They were feeding.”
She said that at one point there were 20 fins surrounding her.
“I looked behind me and something had grabbed hold of my foot, it was a six-foot bull shark. And it tore up my foot, but it didn’t thrash or anything. I kicked it with my right foot, and it let go immediately.”
“When I first got bit, it didn’t hurt because it hadn’t really clicked yet, didn’t seem real. Then when I looked back at my foot, all the blood in the water, I started screaming and I freaked out. Then I blacked out and the next thing I remember was being on the sand.”
Caelin was quoted by The Sun News’ Myrtle Beach Online as saying she had just caught a wave, “another good wave was coming and I started kicking. All of a sudden, I turned around and something had grabbed hold of my foot.”
With her free foot, she kicked the shark – which she identified as a 5- to 6-foot-long spinner shark – and screamed for help, the report said.
Her mother, Janice Lacy, and an unidentified man, ran from the beach to rescue her. “It seemed like miles to me at the time,” said her mother. “When I got to her there were fins all around her. She was in the middle of a school of fish.”
Lacy told the media how her daughter reached out to her for help. She said the uncertain rescue the most horrifying moment of her life.
“I just grabbed her by the wrist and pulled to just yank her to me,” she said. “I didn’t know what part of her was going to come with me when I yanked, when I pulled her out. That was the moment that I will never forget.”
Doctors who were on the beach at the time helped stop the bleeding. She was taken to Georgetown Memorial Hospital.
The shark bite severed three tendons, the most important one was only half torn meaning she was likely to make a full recovery. Caelin said doctors had told her she would require around 70 stitches.
“You’re more likely to be struck by lightening than you are to be attacked by sharks,” Caelin told the the media. “I can’t let this keep me out of the water.”