Make your home page

Surgeon: Boy who lost arm in shark attack in good condition

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) – The 16-year-old boy who lost most of his left arm in a shark attack at Oak Island Sunday is in good condition, according to Dr. Borden Hooks III, a surgeon at New Hanover Regional Medical Center where the victim is being treated.

The family of the other victim, a 12-year-old girl identified by the Wilmington Star-News as Kiersten Yow, of Asheboro, asked that officials not to give out any more details on her condition.

The Wilmington Star-News also identified the teen as Hunter Treschel, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. The boy was at the beach with family.

Hooks told reporters at a press conference Monday afternoon that the boy “suffered a shark bite to his upper left arm. [It was] a clean transection and he arrived in serious condition.”

The victim was taken to the operating room where doctors stopped the bleeding and performed a “definitive repair.”

“In surgery when we have traumatic injuries, a definitive repair is one where we can get the vital tissue structures back together,” said Hooks.

The surgeon told reporters that the teen wouldn’t have to undergo any other procedures but will remain hospitalized for at least a few more days. He suffered no other injuries.

The victim, Hooks said, is “in good shape.”

“He’s awake and talking to us. He does have a lot of recovering to do but young folks tend to recover well,” he said.

Although the victim is in good shape, Hooks said he can’t say for sure how well he’ll recover.

“I can’t tell you exactly how well he’s going to recover, but I can tell you that they’ve made a lot of advances in prosthetic limbs and devices,” he said.

Hooks said he had never treated such a severe shark bite before and he didn’t want to speculate on how large the shark that bit the teen was.

“I’ve never treated anything like this, most shark wounds that we’ve seen here in southeastern North Carolina are simple flesh wounds where a shark mistakes a foot or leg for a fish and realizes it’s not and lets go,” he said. “I would imagine to inflict that kind of damage it would have to be a relatively large shark, but I’d need to leave that up to the shark experts.”

The mother of the teen issued a statement Monday thanking everyone who has helped her son.

“I would like to thank everyone who has cared for my son, from the people who saved him through their quick actions on the beach, to the transport crew, emergency department team, doctors and staff here at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. I appreciate all their efforts.”