Nadine Hairston was minding her own business on a field trip with her fellow third-graders, enjoying a life-size sculpture of a whale, when she felt something sharp pierce her leg.
"First I felt shock and looked down," the 8-year-old said Wednesday. "I was sliding down … but had an arrow in my leg."
Nadine was rushed from Lawrence Hall of Science Tuesday in Berkeley, Calif., to a hospital where doctors surgically removed the 2-foot-long crossbow arrow. The arrow punctured a fleshy part of her leg and missed major arteries.
Teachers and students came to Nadine's aid after they saw the arrow protruding out of her leg. Nadine said the random arrow struck her when she was coming down the slide outside the Lawrence Hall of Science.
"I don't know if they were aiming for me or just the whale. I have no idea," Nadine said.
Michael Whiteley was chaperoning another group of children when the arrow came darting from the sky.
"A kid ran up to me and said Nadine was shot with an arrow, which, you know, I thought couldn't possibly be true," he said.
Nadine's teacher rode to the hospital with her and played Taylor Swift songs to calm her down.
Authorities are investigating where the wayward arrow came from, speculating that a small-game hunter or a reckless sportsman in the area could be responsible.
"It's certainly possible that it just might be an accident. A careless accident at the very least, but it could also be considered a violent felony," Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Tucker said Tuesday.
This isn't the first time a child has been struck by an errant arrow. In Wisconsin last year, 7-year-old Aryanna Schneeberg was struck in the back by a hunting arrow while she was pushing a doll stroller. The ordeal left Aryanna, who suffered lung and spleen injuries, and her family with few answers about how she unwittingly became a target.
"She's angry because this happened and she doesn't understand why this happened to her when she hadn't done anything wrong," Aryanna's mother, Laura Beth, said.
Nadine is expected to arrive back at school today for a half day so she can ease back into a normal routine.
"It's like a dream and weird at the same time," Nadine said. "Because you think you're dreaming when you see an arrow and it's also weird because it usually never happens."ABC News' Matt Knox and Felicia Patinkin contributed to this report.
- Lawrence Hall of Science