Teen Acts on 'Instinct' During Texas Shark Attack

Oklahoma's Damiana Humphrey should make a full recovery after incident in Galveston
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2024 11:34 AM CDT
Teen Acts on 'Instinct' During Texas Shark Attack
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/DigtialStorm)

An Oklahoma teen vacationing with her family in Texas last week got quite the shock while swimming at a beach in Galveston. Per FOX 26, Damiana Humphrey, 19, her siblings, and another family member were in water up to their waists off of Jamaica Beach on the evening of May 28 when someone in their group spotted something tan moving in the waves. "I looked down and there was a shark attached to my hand, so I guess I started punching it," Humphrey said. "That part is kind of blurry to me."

She tells the Galveston County Daily News that it was "just instinct" that caused her to hit back at the shark. Afterward, Humphrey says, the shark fled, and she helped get her siblings safely to shore. She tells the Houston Chronicle that the whole thing "happened so fast" and felt like "a dream." First responders got the nursing student to a nearby hospital, where she had surgery on her left hand, which had four severed tendons. She says doctors believe she should make a full recovery, however.

It's not clear what kind of shark attacked Humphrey, though bull sharks, blacktips, spinner sharks, and hammerheads are among the common species found in Texas, a researcher for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's Sportfish Center tells FOX 26. The shark in this case was believed to be between 4 and 5 feet. Shark attacks off of the Lone Star State are rare, with fewer than 20 such incidents in Galveston County since 1911, per the International Shark Attack File. Humphrey, meanwhile, tells the Chronicle that now she's out of the woods, her friends have started calling her "fish food" and "shark bait." (More shark attack stories.)

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