Shark-bite victim to ‘fight and live with the cards I’ve been dealt’ after losing arm

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Hunter Treschl lost his arm in a shark bite on Sunday while swimming off Oak Island. Photo screenshot from video courtesy New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Hunter Treschl lost his arm in a shark bite on Sunday while swimming off Oak Island. Photo screenshot from video courtesy New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Sixteen-year-old Hunter Treschl can’t wait to get home to his friends and family in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I think it will be enjoyable, to say the least,” Treschl said, smiling as he thanked well-wishers, beach bystanders, emergency personnel and doctors in a short video from his hospital room in New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Treschl was one of two people attacked by a shark about 20 yards offshore of Oak Island on Sunday afternoon. He lost his arm in the attack; as did a 12-year-old girl whose family has asked for privacy about her identity and her condition.

The girl was swimming near the Ocean Crest Pier at 4:40 p.m. Sunday when she was attacked. An hour later, Treschl was bitten. Brunswick County emergency officials and surgeons have credited beach bystanders–including an off-duty Charlotte paramedic–with saving the kids’ lives in the shark attacks.

Treschl, who is recovering at New Hanover following surgery on Sunday, appeared in good spirits while talking in the video posted on YouTube by hospital officials.

“I was just in waist-deep water, like I said, playing with my cousin, and I felt this kind of hit on my left leg. Like it felt like it was a big fish coming near you or something,” Treschl recalled. “Then I felt it one more time. And it just kind of hit my arm. That was the first I saw it was when it was biting up on my left arm. I got it off eventually and it swam away.

“Well, I don’t know if it swam away, but I was able to move and I got out of the water with the help of my cousin and I got on the beach. They kind of wheeled me into the ER and there were like 25 people there,” he said, laughing. “It was actually quite a spectacle, because I was conscious for the whole thing and aware. I like to think I was aware, at least.”

Doctors completed surgery to repair the tissue structure of his upper left arm, where it was severed, according to Dr. Gordon Hooks, who performed surgery on Treschl and the 12-year-old girl.

“They did a pretty good job on it, too, from what I hear,” Treschl said. “It feels good.”

Treschl also talked about what’s next for him once he returns to Colorado.

“It seems to me, at a certain point, I’ve lost my arm, obviously,” Treschl said. “So I have kind of two options: I can try to live my life the way I was and make an effort to do that, even though I don’t have my arm, or I can let this be completely debilitating and bring my life down and ruin it in a way.

“Out of those two, there’s really only one that I would chose and that’s to fight and live with the cards I’ve been dealt.”

Click here to watch a portion of Treschl’s video interview on New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s YouTube page.

Read related story: OCEARCH biologist: Shark attacks likely different sharks

Caroline Curran is the managing editor of Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6336 or caroline.c@portcitydaily.com. On Twitter: @cgcurran