Girl recounts brush with shark at ocean beach
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
By BOB LABBE
For the Madison Spirit firstname.lastname@example.org
She was walking through waves when bitten on foot
Katherine Cochrane got a shock while playing in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean near Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston, S.C.
She was attacked by a shark, possibly a sand shark, and her right foot and right ankle were bitten. She has 24 teeth marks on the top of her foot, a slice on her toe and foot and possibly a second bite mark on her ankle. Her injuries required several stitches.
"I was just getting off a boogie board and was walking through the waves to my cousins when something grabbed me," said Katherine, 11, a sixth-grader at Rainbow Elementary School. "I wasn't sure what it was and it lasted just a couple of seconds. At first, I thought it was something else. But it hurt bad, and I knew something more had happened. I yelled out in pain. I quickly began to swim toward my cousin, Beth."
Once Katherine made it back to shore she and Beth, a veterinarian, sat down in the sand and looked at her foot. It was covered in blood.
Katherine's mother, Denise, was in their vacation house across the street from the beach when the incident occurred. It was around 11:30 a.m. June 7. One of Katherine's brothers, David, rushed into the house, picked up the car keys and sped away from the house without saying a word to his mother. Denise knew something was terribly wrong. Within minutes, David drove the car back to the house and carried his sister into the house in front of their terrified mother.
"Katherine was upset and scared, so we tried keeping her calm," Denise said.
They put Katherine in the bathtub, and her cousin, Josh Cochrane, who is a doctor, examined her and put some antiseptic on the wounds. After that, they took her to an urgent care clinic on a nearby island.
At the clinic, Katherine was given four shots to numb her pain and had stitches put in her foot to close the wounds.
"It was immediate panic for me. I never thought a shark attack would occur in the waters where we visited," Denise said.
A member of the Global Shark Attack File contacted the Cochranes when they got back to Madison to have the incident documented for global shark studies.
Katherine, who is said to be a good swimmer, plays piano and participates in soccer and softball, said she was aware of the other shark attacks that have severely injured and killed others. "I feel bad for those others. I've been through the experience and I know it was very painful. I'm glad the shark bit me the way it happened, because I know I'm lucky to have my toes, foot and even a leg."
Denise said the Cochrane family, including another boy, Mathew, and father, Ron, will know where to go in the water next time they visit the ocean. "I'm very cautious of the water, but I will allow Katherine to go swimming. I don't want my family to live their lives in fear. I'll keep a closer eye on Katherine because of this incident. But I know she's not a risk taker, so I feel I know she will be fine."
The day after the shark attack, the Cochranes and the rest of the family went back to the spot in the breaking waves where it took place. They were cautious. "But it soon got back to normal," Denise said.
Katherine said she isn't scared of the water since the attack. "This won't stop me from going into the ocean," she said. "I plan on jumping into the water as soon as I arrive on the beach."
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