OAK ISLAND, N.C. — Hunter Treschl and his cousin were “playing around in the waves” at a North Carolina beach when he felt something bump into his left calf.
“I thought it felt like a big fish, and I started moving away,” Treschl said in a video released Tuesday night by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “And then the shark bit my arm — off.”
The 16-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado, was one of two young people attacked by sharks in North Carolina on Sunday. Both he and 12-year-old Kiersten Yow of Asheboro survived, but with serious injuries.
Treschl’s left arm was amputated below the shoulder, according to information released by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he is being treated.
He was in good condition Tuesday, hospital spokeswoman Martha Harlan said.
A little more than an hour before Treschl was attacked and about 2 miles away, Yow lost her left arm below the elbow and was injured in the leg.
Authorities do not know if they were attacked by the same shark.
Yow was in stable condition Tuesday at N.C. Children’s Hospital at the University of North Carolina, according to a statement from her parents, Brian and Laurie Yow.
“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,” they said, appealing for time to deal with the trauma privately.
Immediately after he felt the shark rip his arm off, Treschl said he was able to make it back onto the beach at Oak Island with the help of his cousin.
He said another teen had a belt that he used as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, while others “were all helping me kind of stay calm until the ambulance got there.”
Asked if he ever saw the shark, Treschl said he felt it first.
“We were just playing around in the waves, and I felt a hit on my left calf,” he said in the video.
“That was the first time I saw it, when it was biting up my left arm.”
The paramedics who arrived at the beach in response to help both Treschl and Yow said they were stunned that they had gotten two calls about shark attacks so close together in one day. It was more common, Jack Baker and Peter Joyce said, to get calls for attacks that turned out to be injuries from stingrays or jellyfish.
Baker, a paramedic for 11 years, and Peter Joyce, a five-year veteran, had just gotten back from driving Yow to a soccer field to be airlifted to a hospital when they got the call about Treschl.
“I was in disbelief that it had had just happened again,” said Baker.
Baker and Joyce ran inside to grab a few tourniquets — they had used all theirs on Yow — and then drove through a sudden downpour. They found Treschel lying on a narrow band of sand, the high tide washing over him.
“He was in as critical shape as you could be,” Joyce said Tuesday. The makeshift tourniquet first applied by the teen probably saved his life, Baker said.
“I’d like to thank him very much,” Treschl said of the Good Samaritan.
Treschl said he is also grateful for the help and support he received from other bystanders on the beach, the paramedics and doctors who saved him, and people who have been sending him well wishes.
He said he is trying to remain positive.
“I have 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 an arm, or I can just let this be completely debilitating and bring my life down and ruin it,” he said.
“Out of those two, there’s really only one that I would actually choose and that’s to try to fight and live a normal life with the cards I’ve been dealt.”