victim and her
the story of shark attack on Ocracoke
By JERRY ALLEGOOD
Sitting in a wheel chair with a colorful bandage from her right knee to
toe, 6-year-old Lucy Mangum expressed no fear or anger toward a shark
that mangled the leg while she was swimming at Ocracoke last week.
“He didn’t mean to do it,” she said. “I tried to swim away.”
But she also told her parents at one point, “I should have kicked him
in the nose.”
Lucy and her parents, Jordan and Craig Mangum of Durham, described the
harrowing attack during a news conference at Pitt Memorial Hospital in
Greenville, where the girl has been treated. Joining the family were
doctors who said both Lucy and the Outer Banks beaches should be able
to recover from the incident that attracted national attention.
Jordan Mangum said Lucy, her father, and other children rode the ferry
from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke on Tuesday, July 19, to play at their
favorite Ocracoke beach. They had been on the beach a couple of hours
with the children playing on boogie boards in shallow surf when she
heard Lucy scream.
“I turned and immediately saw a shark, and it was shocking to me in
itself,” she said, adding that her instinct was to run over to get the
girl out of the water.
She did not realize at first that Lucy had actually been bitten but
then saw her right leg which was “completely open” from calf to ankle.
She cupped the wounds with her hand and called to her husband, who is
an emergency physician.
Craig Mangum, who works at Wake Medical Center and occasionally at the
Outer Banks Hospital, said he knew the wound was significant and would
require more than one surgery.
Hyde County Emergency Medical Services personnel, who treated the girl
on the beach, called for the EastCare helicopter to transport her to
the hospital in Greenville, which is a regional trauma
He said the helicopter ambulance arrived on the island within 35
minutes and had the patient at the hospital in another 35.
Jordan Mangum said she could see part of the shark and estimated it was
4 or 5 feet long. She said she heard from others that it was
probably a black-tip shark.
was very aware of what was going on around her.
Her father said that she asked, “Am I going to be in a wheelchair? Am I
going to walk again? Am I going to die?”
Her mother said Lucy was excited but not unduly frightened. She told
medical staff, “This is the first time I’ve ever been bitten by a
Nor did the helicopter flight alarm her, except when it landed.
Her mother said she asked, “Who’s driving this thing?”
Doctors said Lucy suffered extensive damage to muscle, ligaments, and
blood vessels but luckily avoided major nerve damage.
Dr. Richard Zeri, associate professor and chief of
and reconstructive surgery at the East Carolina University
Medical School at Pitt Memorial, said, the case was the first shark
attack his staff had treated. He noted that the staff treats
hundreds of dog bites.
Zeri said his young patient was remarkably calm during her ordeal.
“I haven’t seen a single tear she shed,” he said.
Lucy, wearing a bright dress wiggled and scooted around in her
wheelchair while the adults talked to reporters.
clutched stuffed animals, one of them a large blue dolphin.
At the prodding of reporters, she said she likes dolphins better than
Zeri said there was no reason that parents should stop taking their
children to enjoy the beach and the ocean.
Jordan Mangum made it clear the family had no intention of staying
“It’s a good ending,” she said. “She’s going to be running and dancing
and twirling, just like before.”