Teen Punches Shark After Being Attacked While Swimming at Texas Beach: 'Just Instinct'

“I looked down and there was a shark attached to my hand, so I guess I started punching it," said Damiana Humphrey

An Oklahoma teen who was vacationing with her family in Galveston, Texas, survived a shark attack by literally taking matters into her own hands and throwing a punch.

“It was just instinct,” Damiana Humphrey, 19, told Galveston newspaper The Daily News of the May 28 attack that left her with four severed tendons on her hand. “It happened and that was my first reaction when I saw it. It felt like a dream because of how fast it happened."

Humphrey was in water waist-deep along with her siblings when her sister-in-law noticed something tan, according to Fox affiliate KRIV. "As I was turning, a shark grabbed a hold of my hand,“ Humphrey told the outlet. “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."

Related: Florida Named as Shark Attack Capital of the World — with U.S. Waters the Global No. 1 for Bites

Humphrey’s next thought was to get her siblings in the water to safety. They got to shore and their family contacted 911, per The Daily News. Humphrey was taken to the University of Texas Medical Branch and had surgery performed on her hand.

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Humphrey told KRIV that she is expected to make a full recovery.

Related: Shark Bites 46-Year-Old Man in California During Group Swim, Leaving Him with 'Significant' Injuries

PEOPLE contacted the Galveston Island Beach Patrol for comment on the May 28 incident. According to Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis, per The Daily News, his team only tends to a shark bite every two or three years.

Related: Shark Attacks New Zealand Woman Walking in Knee-Deep Water: 'Recovery Will Be Slow'

According to the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File, there were 69 unprovoked shark bites on humans and 22 provoked bites worldwide in 2023. In the U.S., Florida led all the states with the most shark bites at 16 that same year.

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