MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Peyton Force is one brave 11-year-old girl.
While swimming close to Pier 14 near downtown Myrtle Beach on Monday, Force was bitten by what a Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue spokesman called an “aquatic animal” but what Peyton’s mother, Elaine Force, says was a shark.
A video reportedly taken after Peyton was attacked is going viral on social media.
In the video that was posted to Facebook on Tuesday, Peyton is being tended to by lifeguards and first responders following the incident. By 6 p.m. Tuesday, five hours after it was posted, the video had been viewed more than 371,000 times and shared more than 16,400 times.
Peyton said the shark bit her while she was on her boogie board waiting for a wave.
“So I was just waiting for a wave on my boogie board, then a shark came up and just bit my leg, so it’s like wow that just happened, what am I going to do,” said Peyton. She was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after suffering several dozen punctures on her leg.
The family is thankful, knowing things could have been much worse. Peyton’s father was just feet away and rushed to his daughter as quickly as he could.
“To see it happen and to be that close seeing something flapping next to your daughter, it was the most terrifying event of my life,” said David Force.
He was able to get his daughter to shore where a bystander captured a video of medical staff and ocean rescue tending to Peyton just moments after the attack.
“The lifeguard by our station was there within 10 seconds, but it seemed like forever,” said David. Peyton said despite her injuries, she considers herself lucky and won’t let this keep her from getting back in the ocean.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal because people have gone through way worse with sharks. Next year, I probably just won’t go in the water that deep but I’ll still probably go in,” said Peyton.
“Thank God she’s okay, I mean that’s all we were thankful for,” her father said. The Force family has been able to stay and enjoy the rest of their vacation. Peyton showed off her sense of humor by posing for a photo at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach Wednesday.
“I’m just trying to be positive and make light out of it because I don’t want to be negative about it,” said Peyton
And as for summer vacation stories: “I think she’s going to be King of the storytelling for a long time, hopefully that’s the biggest story ever,” said David.
The Force family would like to thank all the lifeguards and first responders who helped Peyton after her attack.
Click here for more information on the incident.
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