The 12-year-old girl who lost an arm and suffered serious injuries to her leg in Sunday’s shark attack is in good condition at N.C. Children’s Hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kiersten Yow, of Asheboro, was vacationing with her family when she was bitten by a shark Sunday afternoon while swimming about 20 yards offshore of Oak Island. An hour later, 16-year-old Hunter Treschl lost his arm in a shark attack. Treschl was released from New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Thursday.
Yow was initially treated at New Hanover, but was transferred to UNC, where “she remains in good condition and is receiving excellent care,” hospital officials said in a news release.
“She has a long road to recovery that will include surgeries and rehabilitation, but her doctors at UNC expect she will keep her leg, and for that we are grateful,” Kierston’s parents, Brian and Laurie Yow, said in a statement. “We want to thank the good Samaritans and emergency responders whose clear heads and quick actions saved Kiersten’s life. We also thank her extraordinary doctors and nurses in Wilmington and Chapel Hill. This has been an extraordinarily traumatic event for our entire family.”
In addition to Yow’s family, emergency officials and the surgeon who operated on Treschl and Yow have said beach bystanders–and their quick responses–saved both shark-bite victims’ lives.
“The bystanders saved those kids lives,” Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Brian Watts said. “There is no doubt.”
One of the people who helped on Sunday was Marie Hildreth, a paramedic with Novant Health in Charlotte, who was vacationing in Oak Island with her family. Hildreth gathered materials from the beach and made a tourniquet to stop the bleeding from Yow’s arm and another for her leg.
“It was much worse than I expected,” Hildreth said in a news release from Novant Health. “It was pretty bad arterial bleeding.”
With the help of Hildreth’s younger brother–an aspiring Charlotte firefighter–and her brother-in-law, who is a Maryland police officer, Hildreth was able to slow the bleeding.
“The child would have bled to death if it wasn’t for her,” Watts said about Hildreth.
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Caroline Curran is the managing editor of Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @cgcurran