SHARK ATTACK: German tourist Karin Ulrike Stei in hospital after Vero Beach attack

11:48 AM, May 10, 2012   |    comments
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VERO BEACH, Florida (CBS12) -- A German tourist was bitten by a shark at Humiston Beach.

Vero Beach Police report it happened near at 3000 Ocean Drive. Police identified the victim as Karin Ulrike Stei, 47, of Konstanz, Germany. Her bite wounds go from her thigh to below her knee -- eyewitnesses say the shark attack severed her femoral artery and removed a large portion of her upper thigh.

Police report she was swimming in waist-deep water about 30 yards from the shore. Her friend Brigitte Schmide was about 5-10 yards closer to the beach when Stei was bitten. 

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Schmide told police she wasn't aware Stei was in danger until she heard her yell "shark." Then she saw blood in the water near her. 

Vero Beach lifeguard Eric Toombstoo pulled Stei out of the water, and then was helped by lifeguards Jordan Farrow and Shanna Beard, a registered nurse who was off duty at the time. All three lifeguards worked to stabilize Stei until EMS arrived.

David Daniels was here with his wife on vacation from Michigan. He says he ran out into the water to help the rescue and describes the brutal attack.

"I started running out there and hoping that somebody else would see her and rescue her. Me and another person got out there at about the same time. We pulled her in and got her to the beach, but the wound was catastrophic. It was terrible," said Daniels.

"It was just a freak accident. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm just glad we were there," said Toomsoo. 

Stei was in serious but stable condition when taken to Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach. She was then flown to Lawnwood regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce.

The victim is out of surgery tonight. She is in stable, but serious conditon.

Stei and Schmide are visiting a friend in Vero Beach, police reported.

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