Daughter says Rockaway Beach shark bite victim has had 5 surgeries, was left with permanent disability
The 65-year-old woman who was bitten by a shark at a New York City beach has undergone five surgeries since the attack and will require more, her daughter said in a statement.
Tatyana Koltunyuk’s recovery from the Aug. 7 shark bite will also take years of physical therapy and close medical monitoring, daughter Darya Koltunyuk said.
“Though the full impact of her injury is not yet known, it has left her with a permanent disability,” Darya Koltunyuk said in an online statement posted on GoFundMe to raise money for her mother’s medical care.
Tatyana Koltunyuk was swimming off Rockaway Beach when a shark bit into her left leg, leaving a wound several inches wide and deep. Lifeguards pulled Koltunyuk from the water and applied a tourniquet to her leg. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Darya Koltunyuk, a pianist and the outreach manager at Princeton University Concerts, said her mother will remain hospitalized for at least several more weeks.
Tatyana Koltunyuk emigrated to the United States from Ukraine with her husband and then 3-year-old daughter in the 1990s. Koltunyuk’s husband died of a heart attack a few weeks after the family arrived, their daughter said.
Tatyana Koltunyuk worked tirelessly to support her daughter on her own and had hoped to enjoy her retirement, her daughter said.
“She talked about swimming in the ocean every day, walking around the city with a new puppy, and traveling with us,” Darya Koltunyuk said, referring to herself and her husband, Gregg Kallor, a composer and pianist.
“My husband and I will do everything in our power to make her retirement as comfortable and enjoyable as we possibly can, but the road ahead will be extremely challenging for her and for our family,” Darya Koltunyuk said.
Experts said Koltunyuk’s bite was the most serious shark attack in New York waters in decades.
Shark sightings and minor bites have become more frequent in the region in recent years as the predators are drawn closer to shore by a growing population of the bait fish they feed on.
At least 13 swimmers reported being bitten off the coast of Long Island in the past two summers, surpassing the total of reported bites throughout New York history prior to 2022. None of those injuries were considered serious.