A Ukrainian woman has a “permanent disability” and had to undergo five surgeries after being attacked by a shark at Rockaway Beach.
Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, was bitten by the beast just before 6 p.m. Monday while swimming off the beach in Queens. According to witnesses, she lost a 20-pound “lump” of flesh from her left leg, above the knee.
Koltunyuk, who is retired and dreamed of swimming in the ocean, traveling the world and parenting a new puppy, is now facing years of intense physical therapy.
Her daughter and son-in-law, Dasha Koltunyuk and Gregg Kallor, said she would also need medical attention.
A gofundme began fundraising for his care has so far raised $50,000, about halfway to the family’s stated goal.
Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, was bitten by the shark just before 6 p.m. Monday while swimming off the beach in Queens. Witnesses say she lost a 20-pound ‘chunk’ of flesh from her left leg, above the knee
Her daughter says her mother’s needs will include “ongoing services and consultations, mobility aids, intensive physical and psychological therapy, making her home environment accessible and comfortable, and transportation to and from appointments. -YOU”.
Koltunyuk, according to her family, emigrated to the United States with her husband when she was three, only to die of a heart attack a few weeks later.
Although she does not speak English and cannot continue her work as a marine engineer, she “has worked tirelessly to provide for our family”, according to her daughter.
“She made sure I could take ballet and piano lessons and have the best education possible; she took me to art museums, concerts and theater performances; we walked through all the city gardens and parks we could find. She worked a grueling life to make sure I could thrive.
The last shark attack along Rockway Beach was in 1953 when a 15-year-old boy was bitten by a shark hooked on his fishing line. Before that, Rockaway Beach’s last shark attack was in 1909, according to the New York Daily News.
The Long Island coast is no stranger to attacks, however, with six already reported this summer.
Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, was bitten by the shark just before 6 p.m. Monday while swimming off Rockaway Beach
The woman was bitten inches above her left knee (pictured) and rushed to hospital in Jamaica
The shark’s gruesome bite took 20 pounds of flesh from the victim, according to The New York Post.
According to the violation reporting application CitizenPolice applied a tourniquet to the victim before he was rushed to hospital in critical condition.
The FDNY confirmed to DailyMail.com that officers responded to a call at Beach 59th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard at 5:52 p.m. The swimmers were ordered out of the water moments after the incident.
After the attack, police flew a drone and helicopter over the beach to locate the shark, but were unsuccessful. Parks Department officials said the FDNY and NYPD will continue aerial surveillance of the beach to watch for sharks.
“As a safety precaution, Rockaway Beach will be closed to swimming and surfing today, August 8, due to recent shark activity,” Parks Department spokesman Gregg McQueen wrote in a statement.
Rockaway Beach was closed on Tuesday after a woman was attacked by a shark, leaving her in serious condition. Police are seen gathering on the beach at 59th Street on Monday night
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation workers plant a red flag warning visitors that swimming is prohibited at Rockaway Beach on Tuesday, August 8
Police gather along Rockaway Beach at 59th Street after a woman was attacked by a shark in the early evening of August 7. It was the first shark attack off Rockaway Beach since 1953
Parks Department officials said the FDNY and NYPD will continue aerial surveillance of the beach to watch for sharks. Pictured is a surveillance drone on the beach on Monday evening
It was the first shark attack on a person at Rockaway Beach “in recent memory”, according to the Parks Department
The incident follows shark sightings off Rockaway Beach last year, which also caused the city to close the beach to swimmers last July.
The attack is the latest in a series of incidents in recent weeks. Although attacks as far west as the Rockaways are rare, swimmers farther east along Long Island are at greater risk.
A Long Island shark expert told the Daily News it was likely Monday’s attack was the result of poor visibility in the water.
“Today it was very windy, the water was churning. The water is probably a little murkier. It all adds to the potential for these bites,” said Christopher Paparo, director of the marine laboratory at the Stony Brook University.
A teenager was attacked by a shark over the 4th of July weekend while traveling to Fire Island in New York. This attack was one of six along Long Island this year.
During the 4th of July holiday incident, officers from the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau were called to the coast of Fire Island and they rushed to the aid of the 15-year-old who had been bitten off the coast of Kismet beach around 5:20 p.m.
The teenager was then taken to Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip for medical assistance.
Six shark attacks took place last year in just six weeks
Prior to 2022, New York had recorded only a dozen unprovoked bites. In the past decade, only four people have been bitten by sharks, according to data compiled by the International Shark Attack File, which tracks shark attacks around the world.
Last year, eight people reported being bitten by sharks swimming in the shallows off Long Island beaches.
“We are now more vigilant than ever,” said George Gorman, Long Island Regional Director for New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Although the injuries are not serious, he and others are concerned about the increase in shark sightings and encounters.
Last year, the United States recorded 41 of the world’s 57 confirmed cases, or 72% of the global total for 2022, according to the International Shark Attack File.
Specifically, Florida is by far the shark capital of the world, recording 16 unprovoked non-lethal bites last year – the most attacks of any state or location, for that matter.
Volusia County in the state, known as a shark hotspot, recorded 44% of the total number of attacks.
New York had the second highest number of attacks last year, with eight in total. Hawaii was next, with five stings in total, including one fatal.