Woman Survives Shark Attack ‘I Thought It Was a Huge Fish and Kicked It’

 Woman Survives Shark Attack ‘I Thought It Was a Huge Fish and Kicked It’


A US woman whose calf was torn off by a shark in a terrifying attack revealed she initially thought it was a ‘huge fish’ and kicked it in defense. Tabatha Sullivent was mauled by a suspected bull shark off South Padre Island, Texas, on July 4 while she and her teenage daughter Skylar were in shallow water. They were out past a sandbar when the shark began to follow them.

“I turned around, and all I saw was something gray in the water,” Tabatha told CBS News Texas from her hospital bed. “So, I just kicked at it because I thought it was a huge fish, and it was coming at us. That’s when I think it grabbed my leg.” The shark sank its teeth into her lower leg and held on. Noticing the attack, Tabatha’s husband jumped into the water, fought off the beast, and pulled his wife away. In the process, he was bitten twice.

Beachgoers helped them back to shore, where paramedics treated her open wound before rushing both to the hospital. Tabatha expressed her gratitude, saying, “If my husband didn’t jump into action and everyone else on the beach, if I didn’t have people pulling me out—not just to pull me out but jumping between the shark and me—I don’t think it would’ve stopped.”

A video shared on social media shows the shark’s dorsal fin moving back and forth in the sea, only meters away from where Tabatha was being treated on the beach. “My leg is pretty much gone,” she told FOX Dallas-Fort Worth a day after the attack. “They flushed it out today. It’s all the way to the bone. It did not go through the bone.”

Tabatha will need multiple reconstructive surgeries, but doctors are optimistic she’ll be able to keep her leg and walk again. She currently has movement in her toes and ankle, and her bone structure is “good.” The North Texas family was celebrating Skylar’s 15th birthday on the day of the mauling and had planned to toast the couple’s 16th wedding anniversary the following day. Instead, they spent the day in the hospital.

Writing on Facebook after the attack, Skylar said, “My mom is trying to get as much rest as she can and figure out the road ahead. Recovery will be a long process, but I know she will get through it.” A GoFundMe page set up to help fund the couple’s recovery has already raised nearly $25,000, just $5,000 shy of their target.

South Padre Island and Cameron County Parks officials located the shark, harnessed it, and moved it back into deeper waters, hoping it would stay away from the beach area, KFDX-TV reported. According to Captain Dowdy of Texas Parks and Wildlife, the animal was not harmed during the operation.

Captain Dowdy noted that the “unusual” attack was likely caused by weather changes from incoming Hurricane Beryl, which is set to strike the Texas coastline as a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The attack comes a month after three people were mauled by sharks on the same day off Walton Beach in Florida, resulting in severe injuries and amputations.

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