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Mom Survives Squid Attack!

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Giant squid are invading Southern Calfornia -- so much so fishermen are catching their quota within just hours. "We had our limit within two hours -- the giant squid were everywhere," Capt. Corey Lieser told the LA Times. We brought you the story back in August of a mom who was attacked by one of these monsters of the deep. Check it out!

Vivian Manning Schaffel: Humboldt squids are formidable ocean creatures. Also known as diablos rojas, or "Red Devils," they grow to about 6 feet tall and 100 pounds, and live at depths of 660-1,000 feet. Shanda Magill of Carlsbad, CA, an avid diver and mom of two, was recently grabbed from behind by one when diving and managed to break free!

Here's her story, in her own words:

Shanda Magill: I descended about 40-50 feet with four other divers near a canyon wall. While [her photographer buddies] were taking pictures, I shined my light onto the canyon wall -- at that point, I was at about 60-70 feet. I looked out over the canyon and caught the first Humboldt squid, so I signaled to my dive buddies with my light. They looked up at me, but couldn't see anything, so they kept taking pictures.

mom survives giant squid attack

Right around that time, I got slammed from behind.

I got hit really hard -- it knocked the wind out of me. I tried to signal again, and that's when the Humboldt grabbed my inflator hose, and he managed to jerk me backwards so I lost all sense of direction. I assume that I went down, because I couldn't tell which way was up. It was pitch black, because he grabbed my left side, where my light was tethered to me. On my right side, I put my hand on my regulator because I didn't know how deep he was going to pull me. I didn't want him to grab the regulator out of my mouth because they very aggressively grab you and will eat anything.

They taste with their tentacles -- he was trying to see if I was on the menu.

Fortunately, I was covered from head to toe in neoprene. The force of that creature grabbing and pulling me ... I was jerked so hard and swiftly that I had no time to prepare. There was no way I could defend myself. I was at his mercy. I thought, "Oh my God, I'm going to die."

He didn't grab my regulator, so I just kicked until I broke free. When I got to the surface, the worst part was being several hundred yards away from shore. It was pitch black, and none of my dive buddies surfaced. They all said, "One minute you were there and the next you were gone." Typically, when something like that happens, divers are supposed to surface and look for you. They all thought I was with another diver. It was a weird set of circumstances. I had to get myself to shore. I couldn't find my inflator hose, which inflates your buoyancy compensator. I fumbled around and found it behind me, where the Humboldt had yanked it. I inflated it somehow and started sobbing. I was terrified!

The aftermath.

I was really fortunate because I know that Humboldts are such powerful marine animals, and I was in his environment. They're known to grab and pull divers and fishermen down deep. Even talking about it now, I can't believe it. I feel like I'm talking about someone else. And as a mom, you think, What the heck am I doing out here? I shouldn't be out here putting myself in danger. Just get me out of the water -- that's all I want.

Since the incident, Magill has suffered from severe headaches, whiplash, and stress symptoms, but otherwise escaped unscathed. And just five days after this incident, she bravely ventured back into the deep. "I love diving. I love the people and the whole dive culture. But it's not the same as it was," says Magill. "The first dive, I was really jumpy, and I'm still a bit guarded. The chances of something like this happening again are very slim. I'm hoping it will make me a better diver. And maybe other divers will be a bit more cautious before heading into this area. We are going to have to understand that we are going into their territory, and be prepared for it because otherwise ... people could die."

next: Baby Born on 'Today' Show
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