A beachgoer who helped save the 12-year-old girl mauled by a shark off the North Carolina coast says she used strings from a boogie board and a tent to help save the girl’s life.
Marie Hildreth was playing football in the ocean at Oak Island on Sunday with family members when she says a woman came running to tell them to get out of the water because of a shark.
Hildreth, a paramedic for almost 12 years, saw the 12-year-old girl injured on the beach and quickly jumped into help.
“I think in the pictures you can see the boogie board at her head,” Hildreth said today on “Good Morning America.” "I used the string from that and then somebody took string from one of their tents and gave that to me for her leg until we could get fire on scene."
“I ... stopped the hemorrhaging from two of the limbs and then I basically just kind of stabilized her, got an IV from somebody in the crowd, got her some fluids and waited for fire and EMS to show up,” she said.
The girl, whose family has asked that her name not be released, suffered two bites, authorities said.
"The left arm is completely missing and also a bite to the left leg," a male 911 operator can be heard telling another in recently released 911 calls, noting that the girl had a weak pulse.
Another caller described the same incident as leading to the girl having "her hand bitten off by a shark."
When asked whether she had the number that she was calling from, the caller said, "No, I don't actually. The family is in too much shock so I just wanted to borrow their phone."
Just over an hour after the 12-year-old girl was attacked, a second victim, a teenage boy vacationing from Colorado, was also attacked by a shark, about two miles away from the first attack.
“When I saw him, his arms went up, the shark took his left arm,” bystander Randy Milligan told ABC News. “He just took off running...started screaming, ‘Is this real?’”
Both victims were airlifted to a nearby hospital. The boy lost his arm below the shoulder, while the 12-year-old girl lost her left hand below her elbow and sustained tissue damage to her leg.
Hildreth says it was a “completely normal day” on the beach before the two attacks.
“There was no sign of that, well that I know of, that any of us noticed,” she said. "It was very surprising.”
Hildreth’s mom, with whom she was vacationing, saw the shark in the water after the attack and “took off up the beach,” to warn others, according to Hildreth.
Both shark victims are now in good condition, authorities said.
Hildreth – one of the bystanders Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram has credited with saving the shark victims’ lives – says she has not spoken to the girl since she saw her being taken from the beach to the hospital.
“She’s going through a lot right now and the last thing she needs is a bunch of people bothering her so I’ve just tried to make sure to give her her distance,” Hildreth said. “She has a long way to go and she’s a really, really strong girl so I’m very proud of what all she’s been through and what all she is going to go through."