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Chester County teen survives shark attack in Stone Harbor

Teen surfer from Chester County survives shark attack at the Jersey Shore
Teen surfer from Chester County survives shark attack at the Jersey Shore 02:31

STONE HARBOR, N.J. (CBS) -- A Chester County teenage girl survived a shark attack over the weekend in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.  

The teen, Maggie Drozdowski, shared her story of survival in hopes no one else goes through it. 

Drozdowski, a trained dancer turned surfer, is in good spirits and walking on crutches Monday after a shark bit her foot so hard she required several stitches. It happened Sunday afternoon while she was surfing near 110th Street in Stone Harbor. 

"I was in shock and I didn't even realize what was going on until I was out of the water. But it scared me. I screamed under the water. It was scary," Drozdowski said.  

A 911 call made after the attack said Drozdowski was bleeding pretty badly following the incident. 

Drozdowski, 15, and her friend snapped a photo of the two holding their surfboards just before they went out into the ocean. 


Drozdowski says after a big wave she lost her board. That's when a shark grabbed her foot and pulled her underwater. She says she fought for her life. 

"I really shook it off as much as I could. It was hard though it was heavy. But I shook my foot as hard as I could to get it off," Drozdowski said.  

Her friend, Sarah O'Donnell, saw it all unfold. 

"But then she got up and she was screaming, 'Something bit me, something bit me,'" O'Donnell said. "So I said 'Quickly get on the board and paddle away,' because I thought it was a crab or something. I could never imagine a shark." 

Drozdowski said she had to paddle all the way back to the shore after the attack. 

"It was hard and I didn't catch one wave on my way out either. It took me three or four minutes to fully get out of the water, and then I had to limp with the board in my hand all the way up across the sand to the beach to get across to her family," Drozdowski said.  


According to the International Shark Attack File, there have only been 15 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in New Jersey. The last one was in 2006.

An adjunct instructor of Marine Science from Stockton University says Drozdowski did everything right by shaking off the shark. 

"It could have gotten much worse. I mean, a shark bites something to eat then it will use its head and jaws to shake it, so it could break a piece free. So yes, by kicking and screaming and moving she saved her own life," Stephen Nagiewicz, an adjunct professor of Marine Science at Stockton University, said.  

A Stone Harbor spokesperson wrote: "At this time, no restrictions on beach activities are planned. However, the borough of Stone Harbor urges all beachgoers to exercise caution and adhere to any safety guidelines issued by local authorities." 

"Yeah! I thought I was gonna have to get my foot amputated," Drozdowski said. "But it didn't end up being that bad. I think the wetsuit kind of saved me because it protected my foot."

Drozdowski said she plans on enjoying this summer on the beach and not on the water. 

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