A 13-year-old girl bravely fended off a shark in the waters off Fort Pierce, Florida, and is recovering after the attack left her with bites to her torso, arm, finger and knee.
Ella Reed lives across the street from the beach, but she came face to face with what she believes was a bull shark for the first time on Thursday.
“I remember breathing really hard, and then when it gripped my stomach, I couldn’t breathe at all because I thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Reed said in an interview on “TODAY” on Monday.
The eighth-grader said she blocked the shark with her arm after feeling it bite into her stomach. She then said that she yelled at her friend that she swam close to her for her to get to safety, before fighting the shark again.
“First he bit me in the stomach. And right when he bit me in the stomach, I pushed my arm where he was biting me so he didn’t get to my stomach but my arm,” Reed said. “Then I hit him with my other hand, like I would hit him on the nose or face.”
Reed said she got out of the water and FaceTimed her brother for help, as she didn’t think her mother was home. Her mother, Devin Reed, said on «TODAY» that she initially didn’t think her daughter was serious.
“At first I thought he was actually kidding, and then he says, ‘I’m not kidding!’ And she took the camera and focused it on her body, and I froze and freaked out,” she said. “The first thing she did was tell her friend to run, not ask for help. She was saving her friend.
Her mother said she ran out as the 13-year-old girl was coming from the beach in a golf cart, and immediately put her in a car and took her to the fire department.
“I thought it would be much faster and better for her to get her into the best hands as quickly as possible,” he said. “And then they took her to the emergency room”
His daughter finished with 19 total stitches, five on the torso and 14 on the leg.
Ella Reed said it’s hard to sleep after the incident, but she won’t let the attack stop her from returning to the beach and pursuing her dreams of becoming a marine biologist.
Her mother added that her daughter is proud of her scars.
“She says, ‘If I went through that, I’ll show people,’” Devin Reed said. «No, she won’t let me help her with those scars at all.»