NC woman loses arm to shark attack during Bahamian vacation

by: Blake Hanson, WSOCTV.com Updated:

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CONCORD, N.C. - A mother of three in Concord is now a shark attack survivor, and she said she hopes her story will inspire others.

“I’ll have another chance,” Tiffany Johnson said. “I’m just so thankful. I’m thankful to be here.”

Tiffany and her husband James were on the last stop of a cruise last week in the Bahamas when they decided to go snorkeling in a shallow reef. Tiffany said she felt a bump from behind.

“I wasn’t in pain, it just felt like I had bumped into something so I just casually turned to my right to look to see and that’s when I was face to face with the shark,” Tiffany said. “He had my whole arm in his mouth and he was just floating there, just staring at me.”

Tiffany said she tried to pull her arm out, but the shark clamped down and they struggled for a couple of minutes before she got away.

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“I kept trying to yank my hand back and the last time I yanked he had cut it clean off so I was able to actually get free,” Tiffany said.

James heard her screams and jumped in to help. Meanwhile, Tiffany said she was already praying.

“I felt this tangible peace on me and it was so thick, that I was just calm,” Tiffany said.

Doctors in the Bahamas were able to stop the bleeding, but issues with passports and customs had the Johnson’s stuck in the Bahamas.

A Medevac flight to Carolinas Medical Center would cost $16,000 out of pocket. But with no guarantees insurance would pay for it, the Medevac company called and agreed to pick up the cost.

“He hung up the phone and we just started weeping,” said the Johnsons. 

“I’m thankful to be able to share this story and I hope, and I know, that it’s going to change people’s lives because you can’t hear this story and not see God in it,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany will have another surgery Friday to prepare the arm for a prosthetic.