A Marine veteran saved his daughter from a life-threatening shark attack in North Carolina by punching the shark five times on the nose until it released the 17-year-old girl from its deadly grip, according to local reports.

Paige Winters had deep lacerations and bites in her leg, pelvis and hands when admitted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville just after the 12:20 p.m. attack on Fort Macon Beach, the hospital reported. Paige lost several fingers and her left leg had to be amputated above the knee, but her injuries could have been fatal if not for her father.

On Monday, Vidant Medical Center, where Paige was being treated, released a statement on behalf of her family calling her father’s actions “heroic."

“Her family expresses their appreciation for the first responders, the individuals on the beach who helped and her heroic father who saved her life,” the statement said.

Shortly after the incident, a GoFundMe was set up in Paige’s name to assist in her long road to recovery. “Charlie, Paige’s father, Marine, Firefighter, and Paramedic has served his Country and his community for the last 20 years. Now it’s time for us to rally around him and his family to help them in their time of need,” read the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe page had already raised $10,000 in a matter of 17 hours.

Despite the attack, Paige calls for people to continue to respect sharks and their environment and their safety.

“Paige is out of surgery and awake,” her mother, Marcy, said on the GoFundMe page. “She’s still pretty groggy but cracking jokes. She wants everyone to know that sharks are still good people.”

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