A North Carolina dad 'punched' a shark in the nose to defend his daughter from an attack

Barcroft Media/Getty ImagesPaige Winter’s dad, Charlie, saved his daughter’s life when she was being attacked by a shark.
  • Paige Winter’s dad, Charlie, saved his daughter’s life when she was being attacked by a shark.
  • The firefighter struck the animal in the nose about five times.
  • Paige survived the attack, but sustained “deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas,” and she may need to have her leg and hand amputated.
  • Charlie’s intervention may have saved her life.
  • Experts say that hitting a shark in the gills is actually the best way to defend yourself in compromising situations.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

A North Carolina man saved his daughter’s life when he saw a shark attack her, TODAY reported.

On Sunday, 17-year-old Paige Winter was attacked by the animal at Atlantic Beach at Fort Macon State Park. When her father Charlie saw what was happening, he leapt into action, ultimately punching the shark in the nose about five times, according to the morning show.

“Charlie wouldn’t stop until it released his little girl,” family friend Brandon Bersch told TODAY. “He lives for his children.”

The teen’s grandmother, Janet, also said that Charlie punched the shark “five times before it let go,” according to a Facebook post reviewed by outlets like the Charlotte Observer and the Washington Post. It appears that the post has since been deleted.

According to a GoFundMe set up to help the Winter family, Charlie is a marine, firefighter, and paramedic with 20 years of experience.

Experts agree that when it comes to a shark attack, fighting back is the best way to defend yourself. A 2014 Business Insider video recommends that you “strike with quick jabs” to the eyes and gills in particular.

“He remained calm the entire time,” Bersch said. “Paige is alive today because of her father.”

Atlantic Beach Fire Department officials told WCTI12 that the 17-year-old high school junior sustained “deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas” and medics were required to amputate her leg. According to the Charlotte Observer, her family expects that she will need more surgeries and a possible hand transplant.

“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,” Paige Winter said in a statement released by Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. “Although I have extensive injuries, including an amputated leg and damage to my hands, I will be OK.”

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