‘I could feel numbness’: Woman bitten by shark on South Padre Island describes moments before, after attack

Three others also attacked

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – A woman who was one of four people attacked by a shark off South Padre Island on Independence Day shared what she experienced the moments before she was attacked.

Tabatha Sullivent was in the water when she spotted what she believed was a large fish.

“There are about four of us in the water. I had some teenagers with me. My daughter, 15, was with me as well. And all I saw was something gray in the water,” she said.

The shark continued making its way toward the group.

I thought, ‘Oh my God! It’s a huge fish.’ And it was coming at us, so I kicked at it, and that’s when I think it grabbed my leg,” Sullivent remembered.

Sullivent said the attack left her in shock.

“It’s like I could feel numbness, I guess, is the best way to describe it,” she said.

Her husband fought the shark to try to get it away from Sullivent and was bitten twice.

Sullivent said she has movement in her toes and ankle, and her bone structure is good after the attack.

“I’m going to probably need physical therapy for sure,” she said.

Sullivent credits a higher power for helping her survive the attack.

“I would say somebody or something was definitely looking over us,” she said.


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About the Author

Ivan Herrera, MSB, has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering consumer and money content, news of the day and trending stories.

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