19-Year-Old Galveston Vacationer Fends Off Shark with Her Bare Hands

19-Year-Old Galveston Vacationer Fends Off Shark with Her Bare Hands

A relaxing family vacation took a terrifying turn last month when 19-year-old Damiana Humphrey was attacked by a shark in Galveston, Texas.

Humphrey and her siblings were enjoying the beach, wading waist-deep in the water, when her sister-in-law noticed something tan moving in the waves.

The Attack

Recalling the frightening moment, Humphrey said she turned around and felt a sharp pain as a shark clamped down on her hand.

“I looked down and there was a shark attached to my hand, so I guess I started punching it. That part is kind of blurry to me,” she recounted.

The shark, estimated to be four to five feet long, eventually released her and swam away. Humphrey, driven by adrenaline, ran out of the water with her siblings.

Immediate Response and Medical Care

Humphrey’s family, realizing the severity of the bite, quickly called 911. First responders arrived promptly and transported her to the hospital, where she underwent immediate surgery on her hand.

The shark bite had severed four tendons, and although Humphrey is expected to make a full recovery, she faces several weeks without the use of her hand.

This unfortunate incident has also forced her to give up her job as a patient care technician for the summer.

Road to Recovery

Doctors are optimistic about Humphrey’s recovery, noting that with physical therapy, she should regain full use of her hand.

“Honestly, I’m just glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” she said, expressing relief that her siblings were not harmed during the attack.

Expert Insights and Local Reactions

Despite the harrowing experience, shark attacks in Galveston are exceedingly rare. Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis told Fox26 Houston, “It’s really rare for us to have shark bites here in Galveston.

I’ve worked a few of them in my career, and the ones I’ve seen were shark bites, not attacks. It sounds like this may have been a case of mistaken identity.”

Dr. Kesley Banks, a scientist at Texas A&M University’s Sportfish Center, explained that several shark species inhabit the waters off Texas, including black tip sharks, spinner sharks, and bull sharks.

During the summer months, hammerheads and tiger sharks are also more common. Banks suggested that the shark that bit Humphrey was likely a black tip or spinner shark, which can sometimes appear tan in color.

Preventative Measures

Experts advise several measures to minimize the risk of shark attacks. These include shuffling your feet when walking in the ocean, avoiding areas where the ocean meets other bodies of water, and staying clear of schools of fish. It’s also recommended not to enter the water if you are bleeding.

In the rare event of a shark bite, fighting back is crucial. Landing a punch on a shark’s nose or gills can prompt it to release its grip.

Humphrey’s Brave Response

Humphrey’s quick thinking and bravery during the attack were vital to her survival. By punching the shark, she managed to fend off her attacker. This instinctual response likely saved her from more severe injuries.

A Story of Courage and Resilience

Damiana Humphrey’s story is a testament to courage and resilience. Her experience serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of wildlife encounters and the importance of staying calm and acting swiftly in the face of danger.

As she embarks on her recovery journey, Humphrey’s ordeal will undoubtedly remain a significant chapter in her life, showcasing her strength and determination.