Updated 4:45 p.m.

New Bern High School students are putting together a fundraiser Tuesday evening for their fellow student.

Paige Winter, 17, is recovering in the hospital following a shark attack at a beach near Fort Macon Park at about 12:20 p.m. Sunday. She was rescued by her father, Charlie Winter, who punched the shark five times to force it to let her go, according to her grandmother Janet Winter, but suffered severe lacerations to her hand, leg, abdomen and torso.

Flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, her leg was amputated above the knee. Marcie Winter, a relative, noted on Facebook that “ Paige is out of surgery and awake, she’s still pretty groggy but cracking jokes.”

Advocating for the species that attacked her, Marcie Winter also reported that “(Paige) wants everyone to know that sharks are still good people.”

It wasn’t the first time Charlie Winter stepped risked his life to help someone. In 2013, while working as a firefighter with Havelock Fire and Rescue, he saved a 2-year-old child from a burning home, a story covered in the Sun Journal. A GoFundMe page titled “Prayers for Paige” has been set up for Paige and her family to raise funds to meet medical expenses as she recovers, and as of 4:30 p.m. more than $10,600 had been donated. The author of the page added that, “Charlie, Paige’s father, Marine, Firefighter, and Paramedic has served his Country and his community for the last 20 years. Now it’s time for us to rally around him and his family to help them in their time of need.”

Paige’s high school friends are also stepping up with a fundraiser.

Aaron Williams, theater teacher, said Paige is a definite “diehard theater and chorus person” who he has directed in two student productions, the most recent being April’s “Little Shop of Horrors” musical.

Williams said he has visited her at the hospital several times and spent most of Monday with her.

“She is a lovely and beautiful person inside and out,” he said. “She is unique. She loves to dye her hair and paint her nails – the more glitter the better.”

He described her as a talented singer and actress “who is extremely loved … her friends at school have had breakdowns along with some of us teachers,” he added, “But we are rallying to keep her spirits high and to know that we are there for her.”

He said his students have set a theater performance at the high school stage for 6:30 p.m., June 4. Run by the intermediate and advanced theater students, it will present pieces written, directed and cast by the students.

“We will be taking donations for the family to help alleviate the costs incurred by this event,” Williams said.

 

Sun Journal Reporter Bill Hand can be reached at bill.hand@newbernsj.com.

 

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Updated 3:30 p.m.

As an area teen recovers from injuries from a weekend shark bite, she has asked that others visiting the beach continue to respect marine animals in their environment.

A Go Fund Me page set up by family friends in New Bern to help cover medical expenses for Paige Winter and her family has reached more than $8,000 within 15 hours after being created.

Winter, 17, responded in a statement through the Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she has received medical care, to the support she has received since the shark attack.

“I would like to thank everyone for reaching out and helping me the last 24 hours as a result of the shark attack that occurred at Fort Macon on June 2,” Winter said via the statement. “Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be okay.

“Thank you to the care team at Vidant Medical Center who is continuing to provide excellent care. I know I have a long road to recovery, which includes additional surgeries. I will continue to stay positive and be thankful that it was not worse.”

In an update from the family via the Go Fund Me page after the surgery, Winter said she wanted others to know, “sharks are people, too.”

Winter’s respect for sharks and marine life even after the shark bite was also noted in the initial statement by the family shared by Vidant Medical Center.

“She is in good condition and receiving excellent care. Her family expresses their appreciation for the first responders, the individuals on the beach who helped and her heroic father who saved her life,” the statement reads. “Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Paige is an unwavering advocate for the marine life and the animals who live in the water. She wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.”

First responders were called to the scene of a possible shark bite Sunday at approximately 2:20 p.m. at Fort Macon State Park.

North Carolina Sea Grant produced a brochure about shark safety following a record eight shark attacks reported along the North Carolina coast in 2015.

The number has not reached that high since but there have been a few others reported, included a 14-year-old who received non-life-threatening injuries from a shark bite while surfing near the Dune’s Club in Atlantic Beach, according to previous reports.

While the risk to humans of a shark attack is small, North Carolina Sea Grant Shark Sense brochure provides several safety tips when swimming in the ocean, including swimming in groups as sharks are more likely to attack a solitary person; don’t swim in water after dusk, when sharks more active; do not enter water if bleeding; stay away from areas where people are fishing or using bait; don’t wear shiny jewelry; and avoid areas between sandbars or where there are steep drop-offs.

Ara McClanahan, an aquarist at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, said North Carolina is home to approximately 50 species of shark, with 26-to-28 of those found in near shore waters at various times of year.

At this time of year, she said, Blacktip, spinner, bull, and sandbar sharks are among the species that may be seen feeding around shore.

“The presence of sharks in a given area is likely driven by food availability, which varies with water temperature and other factors,” McClanahan said. “However, many shark species are constantly moving to different areas of our coast for food. Swimming areas with humans often host bait fish and schooling fish which is important prey for many species.”

McClanahan said encounters with sharks and shark bites are mostly “mistaken identity” on the part of the shark. She said that the term "shark attack" implies intent and that behaviorally sharks do not intend to hunt humans.

Another tip, she said, is to exit the water if schools of dolphin or baitfish are seen.

To help Paige's family, visit the Prayers for Paige Go Fund Me page online.

To see a copy of the Sea Grant brochure on shark safety, visit NCSeaGrant.NCSU.edu online.

 

Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.

 

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Updated at 10:15 a.m.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the teen and her family with medical expenses for treatment from injuries sustained from the shark bite.

https://www.gofundme.com/359hr-prayers-for-paige?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_dn_cpgntopstickysmall_r&fbclid=IwAR3aDANQAP8-Tdchx42B-KKGkhFqcDhNLgzXt6CbhnCUruQGEa9-i7A499M

 

Updated at 9:20 a.m.

A teen injured over the weekend from an apparent shark bite is in good condition and has asked that others continue to respect the marine animals in their environment.

Vidant Medical Center has confirmed the identity of the teen as Paige Winter, 17, and released a statement on behalf of the family.

"She is in good condition and receiving excellent care. Her family expresses their appreciation for the first responders, the individuals on the beach who helped and her heroic father who saved her life," the statement reads.

"Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Paige is an unwavering advocate for the marine life and the animals who live in the water. She wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety."

First responders were called to the scene of a possible shark bite Sunday at approximately 2:20 p.m. at Fort Macon State Park.

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A 17-year old girl was hospitalized following a marine animal attack at Fort Macon State Park.

She was taken by helicopter to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville after sustaining injuries to her hands and legs, according to the Atlantic Beach Fire Department.

The attack occurred at Fort Macon State Park. The ABFD got the call and responded at 12:19 p.m. Sunday.

The fire department could not confirm what attacked the teenager. She was transported to Carteret Health Care where the helicopter was waiting and taken immediately to Vidant. The teenager's current condition is unknown.

Stay with JDNews.com for more information.