Attack victim: sharks are definitely more aggressive

Shark bite victim grateful doctors were able to save her arm, hand. (WPEC)

Danger in the ocean!

A woman taking her morning swim along our shoreline is bitten by a shark.

And she’s speaking out to warn others, about what she feels is a growing threat from these predators.

The victim says she was bitten close to shore near John D. MacArthur State Park in North Palm Beach.

She says she never saw the shark, never saw it coming, and it bit her without warning in water about five feet deep.

“I’m just swimming along, going into shore, at the end of my swim feeling good, okay? My last stroke and WHAM!” said Susan Peteka, a Palm Beach Gardens resident.

Peteka says she swims nearly two miles a day. October 23, about 8 in the morning, a shark came up and tore into her left arm.

“Apparently I was doing a left stroke over and the shark got my wrist. He completely shredded my left hand,” Peteka said, as she motioned with her left arm.

Peteka, a nurse with more than 30 years’ experience, says she looked at her arm, saw all the blood and flesh and her nursing instincts kicked in.

“I freaked for a second or two and then I immediately clamped my arm like a tourniquet and I just saw the blood coming and all I did was say get to shore now!” she explained.

“She made it to shore and ran to a condo building for help.

“I started screaming, help me I’m dying!” Peteka said.

Someone ran up to her and wrapped a towel around her arm until paramedics got there.

She had severed tendons and ligaments, nerve damage and two broken bones. A shark’s tooth was still embedded in her wrist.

Peteka noticed a priest in the ER while she was being treated.

“I said bring him over here ‘cause I’m gonna die!” she recalled, sobbing heavily.

She wants to warn beach goers and swimmers to be very cautious. She says she has gone swimming in the ocean hundreds of times. She feels sharks for whatever reason, have become a lot more aggressive and more of a threat to people.

“They’re definitely more aggressive and they’re coming in close, they’re coming in too close now,” said Peteka.

Peteka says doctors have told her she’ll need about 18 months of physical therapy and rehab, and there’s no guarantee she’ll ever regain full use of her left arm and left hand.

She says one doctor told her this is a life-changing injury.

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