Fisherman recovering after losing arm

Alan Carl recovering in the hospital (Photo provided)

By Stefanie Bainum

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- A Lowcountry man who lost his arm while fishing is now recovering at MUSC.

It all started with a dramatic rescue Thursday morning, which left 45-year-old fisherman Alan Carl clinging to life.

Carl was shrimping with his son off the coast of Georgetown when his left arm got stuck in his shrimping boat winch. The powerful machine that pulls in shrimping boat nets, tore his arm off from his body. Doctors were unable to save it.

"I'm in a bunch of pain, but you know that's to be expected," Alan Carl said. "I'm going to recover no doubt. I'm going to carry on."

Carl says his son, 11-year-old John Allen, is a hero. John saved his life by keeping him from bleeding to death until emergency officials arrived. His son was suppose to be at a water park that morning but at the last minute went fishing with his dad.

"I'm pretty sure if he hadn't of been there it would have been a worse situation," said Carl.

Carl's accident brings attention to the dangers fisherman face everyday.

"It's just a mishap it could happen to anybody, just a small mistake, that's all it takes," Carl said.

Shrimping is a way of life in the Lowcountry, and on Shem Creek, shrimpers say they face deadly risks on a daily basis.

"It's dealing with these ropes and the winch that's where you can lose your head, hand, and life in a heartbeat," said Commercial Fisherman, Joe Isaac.

Shem Creek shrimpers say a winch is so powerful not only can it pull 20 tons; it can cut you in half in a split second. But they say it's all worth it in order to serve fresh seafood to the public.

"Local seafood is the best in the world. I've been around the world. I know, I can tell you. It's the best in the world," said Isaac.

But as Carl knows far too well, local seafood can come with big sacrifices. Carl says he is expected to be released from MUSC on Tuesday.