June 3, 2012

UPDATE: Visitor recalls her close encounter
with a shark on Avon beach

By IRENE NOLAN



Megan Konkler, 33, of Lancaster, Ohio, has been coming to the Outer Banks with her family since she was just a year old. And, despite her encounter with a shark that bit her last week, injuring her right foot, she plans on coming back.

“Not even a shark bite is going to keep me out of the water,” Konkler said yesterday from her Ohio home after an overnight trip back from her family’s Hatteras Island vacation.

In fact, she will be back in two weeks for her sister’s wedding on a Nags Head beach.

Konkler and her husband, James, and their two children, Jaxson, 4, and Layla, 10 months, were spending last week with friends and family in an oceanfront rental house just south of the Avon Fishing Pier.

About 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, Megan was sitting on the edge of the ocean with Jaxson collecting shells.

She said she went into the water – not far, no farther than waist deep – to wash the sand out of her bathing suit when she felt something rub against her left toe.

She looked down and saw a shark, which she described as about as long as her leg.

The shark, she said, was not swimming around, but flopping around on top of a wave as if it had just been washed in toward shore.

“It was just flopping around all over the place. I could see it very clearly,” Megan said.

“I freaked out, tried to run away, and stepped on it, and that is when it bit down on my foot,” she said.

The shark bit on her right foot and she managed to shake it off with her other foot.

Megan ran out of the ocean with her foot bleeding, tried to wrap it in a towel, limped over the dune, back to the rental house, and up to the third floor of the house.


“I was 100 percent sure that I lost my toe,” she says.

She says that her group had already noted that they were staying very close to Hatteras Island’s only medical center, Vidant Family Care, on Highway 12 in Avon, just across from the pier.

She said she asked family members to drive her to the center, which they did.

Once there, she was seen immediately by Dr. T. Bentley Crabtree, who, she said, put 18 stitches into the top of her foot and between her toes, and five stitches underneath the foot.

“He was great, so funny,” Megan said. “I was really in a lot of pain, and he got me through it.

“We were really lucky to have a medical center so close to the cottage,” she added

It was evening before she left the medical center and got back to her vacation house.

“I was just exhausted,” she said.  “I slept until the next morning.”

Megan said she just rested until Saturday night, when she and James made the 12-hour trip overnight back to Ohio.

Yesterday, she sounded tired and said her foot was still hurting, but she said she was doing well and on the mend.  She will see a local doctor in Ohio this week to check on the healing progress of her wound.

“It was like something that just doesn’t happen on your vacation,” said Megan.

But she noted again that she will be back in two weeks for the family wedding and in the years to come.


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