‘She's grateful to be alive’: Family of woman injured in shark attack at New York City beach reacts

Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, was swimming near Rockaway Beach in New York City when she was bitten by the shark in a rare attack


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Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

Published: Thu 10 Aug 2023, 12:40 PM

A woman who lost a large chunk of flesh from her leg in a shark attack has said that she “is grateful to be alive”, according to her family. Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, was swimming near Rockaway Beach in New York City when she was bitten by the marine creature on Monday evening, according to media reports.

Koltunyuk's family has expressed their gratitude to those involved in her rescue and treatment. “Our mother is grateful to be alive…And, we are all thankful to the lifeguards, emergency response workers, and team at Jamaica Hospital Medical Centre,” a representative for Koltunyuk’s family told the New York Post on Wednesday.

“We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support we have received, but for now we ask above all for everyone to respect our privacy as we focus all of our energies on helping her to recover,” the person added.

Following the attack, which is said to be the first incident of shark bite in New York City waters in decades, Koltunyuk was rescued by lifeguards and taken to Jamaica Hospital. On Tuesday, police informed that Koltunyuk’s condition was “serious but stable”, reported The New York Times.

As per a police report, Koltunyuk lost about 20 pounds of flesh from her left leg. However, photos of the woman’s wound suggested that the number could have been overestimated, the NYT report added.

According to chief lifeguard Jose Diaz, Koltunyuk was “treading water and relaxing” about 10 feet from the shore near Beach 59th Street when she encountered the shark and started screaming, reported the New York Post.

“We saw that she was bitten [on the leg]. The blood was coming out a lot so they gave her a tourniquet with the buoy, which has a rope, and they tied it so she doesn’t bleed to death,” Diaz told the outlet.

Meanwhile, Rockaway Beach was closed to swimmers on Tuesday after the attack, according to CBS News.

“If we spot a shark, then we'll make a decision to close the beach. We will also keep the drones up in the air and our marine units out in the water during the day while swimmers are swimming,” Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) 1st Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer was quoted as saying.


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