"I thought I was gonna have to get my foot amputated," said Maggie Drozdowski, 15
A Pennsylvania teen has survived a shark attack in New Jersey.
Maggie Drozdowski, 15, was surfing in Stone Harbor with her friend Sarah O’Donnell on Sunday when she was bitten, according to CBS station KYW-TV.
The teen was dangling off her surfboard with her body in the water when she felt something on her leg pulling her down. "I thought it was just a crab pinching my foot, but it felt bigger than that,” she told ABC station WPVI-TV.
“My whole foot was in its mouth," she added. "I was shaking my foot as hard as I could."
Her friend told the outlet she thought Drozdowski was drowning when she was pulled under the water. Then, “she came up and screamed again, ‘I think something bit me,’” the friend recalled.
The teen said the shark let go after about five seconds, after which she climbed back onto her surfboard and paddled to the shore.
“I immediately felt the pain in my foot and I looked at the back of my leg and there was a big chunk of skin missing from the back of my leg,” she told WPVI-TV.
Although she never saw what attacked her, Stone Harbour officials said marine wildlife experts said her injuries do appear to be from a shark bite, according to the outlet.
According to a press release on the Stone Harbor New Jersey website, emergency services responded to a 911 call from 109th Street Beach at around 3:00 p.m. local time. “The Stone Harbor Police Department, along with the Fire and Rescue Squads, promptly arrived at the scene to provide assistance,” the release read.
The release added that Drozdowski received “immediate onsite medical treatment from Stone Harbor Fire/Rescue,” before being transported to hospital.
The teen ended up getting six stitches but told KYW-TV that she initially feared it would be a lot worse. "I thought I was gonna have to get my foot amputated," she told the outlet. "But it didn't end up being that bad. I think the wetsuit kind of saved me because it protected my foot."
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The incident hasn’t put Drozdowski off continuing to do what she loves, although she plans to take her time getting back in the water.
"I can't imagine never going in the ocean again," she told WPVI-TV, adding, "but probably not this summer."
Per the press release, Stone Harbor officials are not planning to restrict beach activities due to the incident, but they did urge beachgoers to “exercise caution.” They said the incident serves as a reminder of the potential risk of water-based activities.
"Stone Harbor remains a beloved and popular destination for beachgoers from near and far. The local police and fire departments are fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of both residents and tourists," said Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour. "They are taking appropriate measures to thoroughly assess the situation and provide necessary updates to the public.”
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