FLORIDA, United States, Sunday January 18, 2015 – When Texas resident Lacy Webb Martin flew to the Bahamas for a New Year snorkelling vacation with her husband and parents, little did she know that she’d be returning home by air ambulance with life-threatening injuries.
Martin, 34, was flown to South Florida after a shark, estimated to be about 10-feet-long and believed to be a tiger shark, attacked her in the water off Elbow Cay.
According to the victim’s husband Britt Martin, who saw the full extent of her injuries when she was back on board the boat, the shark bit off part of the right side of his wife’s body.
“I was looking, and just a huge piece of her was missing, and so I grabbed a towel, I just started wrapping it around her, trying to stop the bleeding,” Martin said at a news conference.
The badly injured woman was rushed to the airport, flown to Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, and taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where doctors have since performed at least two surgeries, one of which included the removal of a shark tooth from her body.
Martin still faces three to five additional operations over the next several weeks before she can return home to Dallas.
While doctors said her prognosis was good, they indicated that she will have some lasting physical damage.
“You have to see some of the pictures of her wounds to really appreciate the size of this shark,” said Dr Andrew Rosenthal of Memorial Regional Hospital. “I mean, the mouth bite. I have a feeling that the shark could have swallowed her whole.”
“We haven’t seen an injury to this degree in many years,” Rosenthal added.
Meanwhile, Britt Martin marvelled at his wife’s resilience throughout the ordeal, despite what her doctor described as a “large pizza-size defect” to her torso.
“She’s tough. It’s her personality,” Martin said. “We’re both Christians, and she told me the whole time that God was going to get her through this.”
Martin also disclosed that his wife intends to keep the shark tooth as a memento from her brush with death.
“She’s actually excited about it. She said she’s going to make a necklace with the shark tooth,” he said.