Teen recounts shark attack
Texas High student says she escaped by kicking the predator
By: Jim Williamson - Texarkana Gazette - Published: 09/20/2010
Jaylee Pierce, 16, can relate to the female victim in “Jaws,” but the
Texas High student can kick, so she survived her shark attack.
Jaylee traveled to Jeju, a South Korean island, to teach English to
Korean students ages 7 to 15 earlier this summer.
Her mother, Christy Smith, has a friend from Korea who suggested
Jaylee work at the camp.
“I wanted a break from Texas,” Jaylee said.
She volunteered for the monthlong camp, which started July 22. The
children were taught English seven days a week.
Jaylee was walking with friends near the ocean late in the afternoon
of Aug. 10 and was dared to jump in the water.
She said a storm off the coast of Jeju had created waves and made the
While Jaylee was swimming to the surface, she saw a shark.
Jaylee said as she struggled to get to the surface, the shark started
spinning and swimming faster. Then it took a bite of her left leg near
“It sounded like a crunch and felt like a razor cut. I felt the teeth.
I said, ‘Please Lord, help me.’”
Jaylee freed herself moments later.
“I got into survival mode and started kicking it in the face. ... I
wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to die,” she said.
Jaylee estimates she was about 50 feet from the beach. “I started
swimming as fast as I could to the shore. I was yelling shark and
swallowing water,” Jaylee said.
Her leg was bleeding, and she couldn’t see her skin because of the blood.
“When I got out of the water I started yelling ‘I’m alive’ and I was
flailing my arms,” she said.
When she got out of the water, she wrapped her shirt around her leg.
Jaylee described her attacker as a “medium-size shark.”
“It was crazy. I don’t know what type shark it was. It was scary,” she said.
An English teacher and two Korean teachers drove her to the hospital.
The wound required 50 stitches.
“By the time I got to the hospital they had to give me medication. I
was starting to freak and have a panic attack,” Jaylee said.
After the incident, she e-mailed her mother and her father, Jay Pierce
of DeKalb, Texas, and her grandparents, Reda and Don Works of
Texarkana, Ark., to let them know about the shark attack.
“My mother was mad about it because she wasn’t notified about it
first. But she had wanted me to come home because I fractured my ankle
playing soccer,” Jaylee said.
She returned home and started classes at Texas High where she is a
junior and has earned the nickname “Shark Tale.”
http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/lo ... ack-26.php