Karin Ulrike Stei, 47, suffered a serious wound on her left thigh after being bitten by a shark while swimming in waist-deep water about 30 metres from shore at Vero Beach in Florida, United States. The incident happened around 11.30am on Wednesday, 9 May 2012.
According to press reports the shark bite left her with a 12-inch gaping hole in her thigh. It severed the femoral artery and exposed the bone. A pool of blood formed around her in the water.
A lifeguard helped bring Stei to shore.
A witness to the shark attack, 58-year-old Dave Daniels heard Stei’s cry for help and dashed into the water to help her. He reached her as the lifeguard grabbed her and her leg came to the surface with the gaping wound.
“That is when I got scared. It was amazing the damage that was done.” He is quoted as saying.
He said he told her to keep her head in the water so she wouldn’t see the wound and possibly “begin flailing around”.
Fortunately a rescue helicopter was flying past the scene at the time and one of the flight paramedics noticed the blood in the water. She was airlifted to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce and underwent emergency surgery.
On Friday 11 May she was reported in a stable condition in intensive care. There was some speculation whether she would be able to keep her leg.
It was not known what type of shark was responsible for the bite wound.