'I Just Thought It Was a Big Fish': Texas Woman Loses Portion of Leg After Shark Attack at South Padre Island

A Texas woman is speaking out after a shark bit her and her husband at South Padre Island over the holiday weekend

Published Time: 09.07.2024 - 05:31:19 Modified Time: 09.07.2024 - 05:31:19

A Texas woman is speaking out after a shark bit her and her husband at South Padre Island over the holiday weekend.

Tabatha Sullivent was hospitalized on July 4 after the shark attacked her left leg while she was standing in shallow water, according to FOX affiliate KDFW and CBS affiliate KTVT.

The Celina resident initially "thought it was a big fish," but she quickly realized she was being attacked by a shark. “I was going to kick it away,” she recalled, per KDFW. “That’s when I think it grabbed me.”

The shark ripped off a piece of Tabatha’s left calf, according to KTVT. She then began screaming for help and attempted to get back to shore.

Tabatha’s husband, Cary, was also bitten twice by the shark while trying to help his wife. Other bystanders were able to help them out of the water.

Now, Tabatha is recovering at McAllen Hospital, according to KDFW. She will need multiple surgeries to address her injured leg, per KTVT.

"My leg is pretty much gone," Tabatha told KDFW. "The bite is all the way to the bone, it did not go through -

the bone."

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Still, the Texas woman is feeling lucky to be alive. “Somebody or something was definitely looking over us for sure," she said.

Four people made contact with the shark at South Padre Island on July 4, including the two who were bitten, according to a news release from Texas’ Parks and Wildlife Department.

Officials indicated only two people were bitten, while two others simply "encountered" the animal.

“Shark encounters of this nature are not a common occurrence in Texas,” officials said in the release. “When bites from sharks do occur, they are usually a case of mistaken identity by sharks looking for food.”

Those who may encounter large schools of bait near shore or see a shark in the water are asked to “calmly exit the water and wait for the predatory wildlife to pass.”

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