19-year-old speaks out after surviving shark attack in Texas

"When I finally saw my hand, that's when I started freaking out."

June 8, 2024, 3:21 PM

An Oklahoma teen and her family are speaking out after the 19-year-old was attacked by a shark last month in Galveston, Texas.

Damiana Humphrey, 19, told "Good Morning America" she was wading in the water about waist-deep when a 4 to 5-foot shark latched onto her hand.

She says she started punching the shark until she was freed.

"When I finally saw my hand, that's when I started freaking out," she told "GMA."

In this undated file photo, a bull shark swims off the coast of Florida.
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Humphrey's father, Troy, also spoke to "GMA." "I noticed that she had her hand held up and that it was bleeding down her arm," he said.

The teen was rushed to the hospital, where she had surgery on her hand.

"I severed four tendons. And then I basically had a big hole on the top of my hand that they had to sew together," she said.

"That shark was looking for food for prey, and in murky water, all they see is a flash of movement, and so that shark came in to investigate, and this was just a case of mistaken identity," Dr. Kesley Banks, a research scientist at the Harte Research Institute, told "GMA."

Galveston Island Beach in Texas is shown in this undated file photo.
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With summer approaching, several shark attacks have recently made headlines across the U.S. Three swimmers, including two teens, were attacked by sharks in two separate incidents while they were at beaches in Walton County, Florida, on Friday.

In Hawaii, a 25-year-old woman was taken to a hospital following a shark bite incident off Oahu’s North Shore on Friday at around 2 p.m. local time, the Honolulu Emergency Services reported.

"EMS responded to the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor where the patient had been brought ashore. EMS treated her for multiple serious lacerations before transporting her to an emergency room," the agency stated.

A 46-year-old man was left with "significant" injuries after being bit by a shark in Southern California earlier this month, officials said.

While experts and officials advised beachgoers to take precautions, including avoiding swimming at dusk or dawn, Damiana Humphrey said the shark attack hasn't stopped her from getting back in the water.

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