A 65-year-old woman who lost 20 pounds of flesh in a horrific shark attack along Rockaway Beach in Queens saw the predator’s “green and dirty” teeth and a cloud of her own blood in the water, her daughter said in a television interview.
Swimmer Tatyana Koltunyuk miraculously survived the Aug. 7 attack, thanks to a quick-thinking lifeguard who crafted a makeshift tourniquet to stem the bleeding from the grisly leg wound until first responders could come to her rescue.
“She was in the water as she normally was toward the end of the day, and she felt something bump into her, hard. And then she saw the shark on its belly up look at her,” Dasha Koltunyuk, the victim’s daughter, recounted to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“She described looking at its eyes very vividly and just seeing it,” the daughter added. “She almost describes it as being mischievous, almost like an adolescent spirit.”
The Queens resident was swimming about 50 feet from shore in the waters near Beach 59th St. at 5:50 p.m when the shark chomped down on her left leg, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.
“She saw all of its teeth. She described how green and dirty they were. And then the shark attacked and she remembered a cloud of blood in the water.”
According to the Global Shark Attack File, a website that tracks shark and human interactions, the last known shark attack in New York City was in 1958.
The doctor who tended to Koltunyuk’s wounds said it was the biggest bite he had ever seen, according to the victim’s daughter.
The bite even exposed the woman’s femur, doctors.
“I think the fact that she’s alive is a miracle,” Dasha Koltunyuk remarked.
The victim was by herself in the ocean before her screams brought lifeguards running to the rescue.
Her family said they were “deeply grateful for the outpouring of support” they received.
“We’re all thankful to the lifeguards, emergency response workers and team at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center,” they said after the attack.
A longtime friend of the victim previously told the Daily News that Tatyana Koltunyuk came from Ukraine to New York in the 1990s with her husband and daughter, and her spouse soon suffered a fatal heart attack.
“It’s terrifying to think that this happened to a woman that has struggled so much in her life,” said Cyndie Bellen-Berthezene, 68. “One in a million people get bitten by a shark. And probably one in a million people immigrate and then their husband drops dead.”
Despite the trauma, Dasha Koltunyuk said her mother still has a soft spot for sharks.
“My mom is in love with nature, with animals,” she said. “And I do think that she’d want me to tell the public to not hate on sharks but to do everything we can to be able to swim safely.”
The incident was the first reported shark attack at the Queens Beach in 70 years, when a 15-year-old was bitten while surf fishing after reeling in a reported 80-pound sand shark.