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June 18, 2015

Teen who lost arm in shark attack released from hospital

Shark attack victim Contributed Art /New Hanover Regional Medical Center

From his hospital bed Hunter Treschl vows to live a normal life after shark attack.

A 16-year-old who lost his left arm this week in one of two back-to-back shark attacks in North Carolina has been released from the hospital, officials said on Thursday.

Hunter Treschl had been playing with a cousin on Sunday in waist-deep water off Oak Island, North Carolina, when he was bitten. His arm was removed below the shoulder, and he had been recovering in the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.

A hospital statement did not specify when the boy was released.

Treschl was one of two youths seriously injured in the shark attacks, which occurred about an hour apart on Oak Island, and which also saw Kiersten Yow, 12, lose part of her left arm and suffer serious leg injuries.

She was in stable condition at another hospital as of Tuesday, when her parents released a statement saying she has “a long road to recovery.”

The attacks occurred at the start of the summer tourism season in Oak Island, where officials now are seeking to ban beachside shark fishing through the July 4 holiday weekend, according to the StarNews newspaper, based in Wilmington.

Earlier in the week, the hospital posted a video in which Treschl said the encounter came without warning.

"The first I saw it was when it was biting up my left arm," the Colorado teenager said in the video. “It got that off, eventually.”

Authorities in the beach town of 7,000 year-round residents asked state wildlife officials to limit fishing that can involve a practice called chumming, in which bloody fish parts are tossed into the water to draw predators, the StarNews newspaper reported.

Dual shark attacks in such close proximity are extremely rare, said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File database maintained at the University of Florida.

Last year, his group recorded 52 unprovoked and nonfatal attacks in the United States, with almost half occurring off the east coast of Florida.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)