April 26, 2017 8:13 pm
Updated: April 27, 2017 6:31 am

Exclusive: Canadian who survived shark attack suffers terrible loss

WATCH ABOVE: A Woodstock, Ont., woman survives a shark attack in Florida. She didn't lose her leg, but suffered another type of terrible loss. Cindy Pom reports.

A A

For Canadian Denise Oosterveld, a recent vacation to Florida with her family left her scarred for life.

“It was very scary,” said the Woodstock, Ont., mother.

Oosterveld was paddleboarding with her sister at Ormond Beach on April 11 when she was bitten by a shark.

“I was trying to catch a wave and fell. When I tried to put myself onto the board, the shark bit my leg,” she recalled.

She wasn’t bitten once – but twice. One of the bites reached into her leg bone.

Story continues below

“At the time I was in shock, I was not responding anymore. My sister was holding me on the board, calling my husband for help.”

Kevin Oosterveld was on the beach with their two children when he heard screams for help and raced into the water.

“I started pushing her into shore. The scariest moment for me was when I looked up and saw my daughter and son crying. It was pretty hard on them,” he said.

READ MORE: Canadian tourist bitten by shark at Florida beach: reports

What’s even harder than the shark attack was finding out later that Denise was pregnant at the time. Her baby did not survive.

“I don’t know if it was the trauma, the pain, or the medication I was taking. That was more painful than the shark bite,” Oosterveld struggled to say through tears.

Shark attacks are rare. According to the University of Florida, the likelihood of being killed by lightning is 75 times higher than the likelihood of getting attacked by a shark.

When attacks do occur, it’s almost always a case of mistaken identity.

READ MORE: Teen felt something bump into his leg before North Carolina shark attack

“A paddleboarder can look like a turtle or a seal. For a shark, they think, ‘That’s on my menu, I’m going to take a bite.’ But after they take a bite, they realize, ‘That’s not my food,'” explained Martyna Pietkiewicz with the AquaSub Scuba Diving Centre in Richmond Hill.

“Those are accidents. Animals are not after people. That’s their environment,” Pietkiewicz added.

Despite the harrowing incident that resulted in over thirty sutures to her leg, Oosterveld is not shying away from the ocean.

“I love the water. I don’t know if that’s going to stop me.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.

Global News