Surfing instructor Barbara Corey said she was only worried about her 10-year-old student's safety when a shark zeroed in on them during a surf lesson at Holden Beach on the North Carolina coast.
Corey, 63, of Supply, N.C., was out in the water for a surfing instruction session with her student, Cassandra Calloway, on Thursday when a shark emerged from the murky water and ripped into Corey's ankle.
"I was just concerned more about Cassandra, getting her in safely," Corey told ABC News' "Good Morning America." "I was just thankful that there was a foot there."
The shark bit into Corey's right foot for approximately 30 seconds, tearing into her flesh and leaving serious puncture wounds that will keep the longtime surfer out of the water for at least five months, her doctor, Mark Hanna, told "Good Morning America."
"It was really painful, very painful," Corey told ABC News' Wilmington, N.C., affiliate WWAY-TV. "It was like somebody had clamped my ankle in a vise grip, and was tightening the screws. Then it started thrashing around. My foot is being thrashed around and I am kicking and kicking."
Corey told her young student to paddle to shore to avoid being the shark's next victim.
"She said a shark just bit her and to get out of the water," Cassandra told "Good Morning America."
While Cassandra's brother helped his sister get to shore safely atop her surfboard, Cassandra's mother, Christina Calloway, ran to help Corey during the brutal ordeal.
"I looked down and her ankle was mangled," Calloway said. "It was horrid."
Calloway said Corey was her "lifelong hero" for helping to save her daughter's life.
Corey was expected to be discharged out of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Bolivia, N.C., this morning. But she has no plans to let this attack get in her way of catching some waves once she's fully recovered.
"I'm not giving it up," she told WWAY-TV. "After 50 years, why stop now?"