COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A Colorado Springs woman is back home after a vacation nightmare. 28-year-old Jill Kruse was attacked by a shark, just minutes after stepping foot into the ocean for the very first time.
Kruse was in Florida with her family. It’s a trip they had been planning for more than a year.
“I was excited but also nervous at the same time, almost like I knew something was going to go wrong,” said Kruse.
Kruse couldn’t explain the sinking feeling she had. The family’s first stop was Cocoa Beach.
She wasn’t in the water more than 10 minutes when the nightmare began. “I felt something grab my leg and it was a sharp pain,” she said.
That sharp pain was a shark latched to Kruse’s leg. She reached down and somehow pushed it away. "I tried to walk back because I saw the pool of blood and knew I needed to get out of there, but I couldn't stand," she said.
That’s when Kruse started screaming for help. Someone rushed in and dragged her to shore.
Finally, back on the beach, Kruse took a look at her leg. What she saw was enough to send her into shock.
"My calf was ripped away from my bone so the muscle was hanging there. There was a big gash. Basically my muscle was hanging from my leg,” she said.
However, Jill’s biggest concern was her four young nieces. All of them were traumatized by what they saw. “They were a wreck,” she said.
Kruse focused on keeping calm waiting for an ambulance to arrive while her mom literally held her leg together.
"Just keep taking deep breaths. That's what I told myself a lot, just take deep breaths," she said.
After 15 to 20 agonizing minutes paramedics showed up and rushed Jill to the hospital where she underwent surgery. "I remember them stitching up my hand, asking questions, and then waking up in the recovery room,” she said.
Now begins a long and painful rehab. It’s something this aspiring physical therapist can handle. Kruse said she just feels lucky to still have her leg.
Surprisingly, she also still plans to one day return to the beach and take her first real swim in the ocean.
"I think I will probably go back in the water, but it will be a while. What are the chances of being bit twice, right?” she asked.