A woman nearly lost her left hand to a shark in North Palm Beach, Florida.
Susan Peteka was swimming off MacArthur Beach State Park October 23 around 8 a.m.
“I was swimming my last couple of strokes, about to get out, and all of a sudden, I remember lifting my arm, and the next thing you know, wham,” she told WPBF News.
“I just looked down, I saw two fingers droop immediately,” she said. “I started seeing blood coming out of my radial artery.”
The shark had shredded the former ER nurse’s hand. While most encounters off the Florida coast consist of a bite and release, this shark had shaken its head back and forth with Peteka’s hand in its mouth.
“I just said Swim for your life! Swim for your life! Swim for your life!’ And I just did that,” the 60-year-old said. “I kicked myself in, just kicking.”
She made it back to the empty beach and continued to call for help. Thankfully, a Good Samaritan heard her cries and alerted medical personal, then ran to her aid with a towel.
Doctors were able to save her am, but she has extensive injuries. The shark left a piece of tooth in the wounds which consisted of two fractured bones, a severed artery, damaged nerves and 20 torn ligaments and tendons.
She has set up a GoFundMe page to help with her medical bills.
Peteka was one of two people in Florida bitten by a shark October 23. A second shark bite occurred just north of North Palm Beach, near the Juno Beach Pier.
Jason Hartl was bitten by a 3 to 4-foot blacktip shark around 5 p.m.
The 17-year-old suffer suffered a bite to his left foot and needed 50 stitches to sew up the wound.
He realized that surfing near the pier was a bad idea; he believes the shark was drawn to the area by bait fish.
There have been a total of 96* shark attack bites in 2017, 7 of which were fatal*; 46 were reported in the US, with 32 occurring in Florida** and two in Hawaii. Fifteen have been reported in Australia, one of which was fatal. Five unconfirmed worldwide and not included in the total count.
All locations have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking Map.
*Two may be scavenge. **One report may have been outside of Florida waters.