Nurse Survives Brutal Shark Attack On Vacation


By Madilynne Medina

A Bay Area nurse survived a shark attack while on vacation in the Galapagos Islands.

Delia Yriarte, a single mother and San Jose nurse, suffered a severe shark bite on her leg as she toured the islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the page said.

A video shows several people carrying Yriarte out of a small boat after the brutal attack.

Yriarte, 42, said she was snorkeling near the shore when she was injured but didn’t realize she was bitten by a shark until she got to the hospital.

“I was swimming, and then I felt a little bit of a push. It wasn't anything concerning; it was not strong,” she said. “I kept pedaling, and then I felt my leg was a little numb. I started pedaling again, and then I felt like my leg wasn't responding.”

She said after a pelican landed in the water, she turned and noticed the blood. Yriarte said she then called for help and was taken to the closest port, about 30 minutes away, before being transported to the hospital.

Yriarte was bitten on her right leg and transported to a local hospital in the city of Guayaquil by Ecuadorian authorities.

She said once she arrived at the hospital, doctors told her the injury appeared to be a shark bite.

“I was a little bit in shock,” Yriarte said, recalling when she first heard the news. “[I remember asking,] ‘Can we repair this? Am I going to lose my leg?’”

Yriarte’s doctors estimated that her injury will require multiple surgeries, treatments and physical therapy that will span several months, the GoFundMe stated.

Yriarte has had five tendon repairs and 100 sutures in her leg, and she has tissue loss that will require more surgeries, she said.

The single mother has been in the hospital since July 4 and estimates that she’ll be able to return to San Jose around this weekend.

Yriarte said people from her tour group, friends, family and other locals have been supportive.

“My sister arrived a couple of days ago, which gives me more comfort all the time,” Yriarte said. “I can honestly tell you that I never felt alone because I always had somebody helping me.”

The Galapagos Islands comprises 19 islands and is a marine reserve, according to the UNESCO website. The islands’ species, which also inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution, include a large number of sharks, whale sharks, rays and cetaceans, the website says.

About 30,000 people live on the islands, which attract about 170,000 tourists each year, according to UNESCO.


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