BURLINGTON, N.C. -- It was 6-year-old Erick Fagan's first trip to Jordan Lake -- and now, he says, he won't be going back anytime soon.
Fagan said he was swimming in the lake when a snapping turtle bit his leg, leaving a six-inch-long gash all the way down to the bone.
"It hurt a lot," he said. "But good thing I'm feeling better. And someone was there to save me."
Fagan's parents, Evelin and Frank, were nearby.
"Tears came to my eyes," Frank said. "I couldn't believe it. I about had a heart attack."
The parents credit a bystander, who identified herself as a nursing student, for helping save their son's life. They hope they can find out who she was, so that they can offer her proper thanks.
"From the bottom of my heart, I really do appreciate what she did," Frank said.
"If she weren't there, it would've been so much worse," Evelin said.
The Fagans said Erick was taken to Duke Hospital and it took more than three hours and more than 40 stitches to stop the bleeding.
"Filled up a whole beach blanket with blood and a pool of blood was around him," Frank said.
The Fagans hope what happened to Erick can warn other parents to the danger of snapping turtles.
"Go out to the water area and check it thoroughly before your kids go in there," Frank said. "Because I don't want to see another child go through what mine did."
Erick offers a different suggestion.
"I feel like... don't get in the lake," he said.