Aunt & Uncle Of Jessie Arbogast Speak Out On Good Morning America - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Aunt & Uncle Of Jessie Arbogast Speak Out On Good Morning America

"We were getting ready to go to supper and about to gather them out of the water when I heard my son yell 'shark,'" says Vance Flosenzier, the uncle of Jessie Arbogast. "I heard a scream and I turned to the water and I saw a pool of blood where the three boys were."

Vance and Diana Flosenzier raced toward where their children, their niece and their nephew, Jessie, had been wading in shallow water.

"When I got there, I realized it was Jessie, and the shark had him by the arm. I mean, it had Jessie's arm and it was rolling , like, you know, you see them on a video clip, where they were engaged in trying to tear their prey apart. And you know, that's kind of a haunting image to think back on because I saw that as I was running up to it. You know, right before I seized its tail, that's what I saw."

Vance grabbed onto the shark as Diana and others pulled Jessie to shore.

"Probably within a minute or two, he stopped breathing altogether," Diana Flosenzier said. "I realized, I know what to do, I've got to breathe for him, there's nothing else to do. So I laid him down and started doing rescue breathing."

For more than 10 minutes, she and others would keep up CPR while Vance struggled to pull the shark away from children still in the water.

"As I was doing CPR, I could see Vance coming out of the water with the shark, holding it up, and all I could think was good, he didn't let it go, because I knew the girls were still out there," Diana said.

"I sure didn't want to let it go, and it seemed that if I held its tail up out of the water, it didn't have a lot of power," Vance said. "They said it was just over seven feet. There wasn't time to think about it."

"You just had to do, you just had to react," Diana said.

"I couldn't believe what was happening," Vance said. "It was just like a nightmare at that point. I just couldn't really believe that such a terrible thing was happening."

The couple credits bystanders, an off-duty paramedic, and a swift air ambulance team with saving Jessie, who had lost 30 units of blood.

"They very quickly determined that they needed to do a load and go, and they quickly scooped him up and put him on and put him in a position where they could continue the CPR. And within just a couple of minutes of landing they were back in the air, taking him toward baptist hospital," Vance said.

Then attention turned to Jessie's arm.

"I told them it was in the shark and they turned the shark over on its side and stuck a retractable baton into its mouth and pried it open and they could see it was still lodged in its throat," Vance said.

The boy's arm was reattached by surgeons. But Jessie still had a very long road to recovery ahead. He emerged slowly from a coma.unable to speak and still struggles with severe physical impairments today.

"He still doesn't speak. He can communicate, and he can move his uninjured arm with purpose to pick up objects, not real well, but he can do that. And all of that is stuff that he couldn't do six months ago," Diana said.

"If he continues that way, it might take years, but he could have a very good recovery," Vance said.

"We're cautiously optimistic," Diana said.

Cautious because while each day offers hope, it also brings the reality that is recovery - hours of therapy, learning to walk again, hoping to talk again.

"His dad has not gone back to work," Diana said. "It's a full time job, caring for Jessie. "It's been difficult for all of them, there's no doubt about that. And hopefully as Jessie progresses, the family will heal, too."

Vance and Diana Flosenzier live an hour from Jessie and his family, and they visit them each week. They are praying for his full recovery.

"When he survived the first night, I knew he was going to make it," Diana said. "There's not been any question in my mind that he was going to be okay."

Powered by Frankly